Benefits vs risks. Agree with drs. Layman and browne. Unfortunately, the cost of immune suppression is increased risk for infections and some cancers, especially skin, lymphoma, others. Balance that with the risk to life and health of not getting the transplant, if needed, e.g.Kidneys-lifelong dialysis (with associated risks); liver- liver failure (not pretty), early death, ;heart-congestive failure and early death.
Yes. Unfortunately one of the side effects of immunosuppression is the potential to develop certain types of cancers at a higher rate than people do don't take these medicines. Skin cancers and blood/bone marrow cancers are more common while taking immunosuppression.
Yes. Azathioprine is an effective immunosuppressant and is a valuable part of some protocols to prevent rejection. By suppressing the immune system, the risk of cancer goes up. The risk of most cancers doubles for patients after transplantation. The risk of skin cancer, however, goes up about 50 times. This is why we recommend wearing a hat and using sunblock when outdoors.
Yes. Transplant recipients should be screened for cancers, especially after 10 years of immunosuppression. The most commonly diagnosed cancers are skin (basal and squamous cell) cancers, cervical cancers in women, and lymphomas. These tumors are often associated with higher doses of immunosuppression and certain viral infections.