Skin cancer and drugs

Hi, Sorry to ask this but i was wondering if anyone has been diagnosed with skin cancer (non malignant) since being on drugs for R/A. The reason i ask, today i went to see a dermatologist and he said a small red spot on my shoulder was basel cell cancer and is going to remove it. I am just wondering how common this is as he did say that some of the drugs do make us more prone to it. I have been assured that it is easily treated and will not spread. I don't wish to worry anyone as we have enough to contend with but perhaps any spot or something that is unusual for you that doesn't heal after a month should get checked out. x

14 Replies

  • Ooh thats scary, am glad you are ok and its not going to get worse or spread.

    I will certainly be checking to make sure i dont get any.

    Thanks for the info.



  • Thanks Jo, i think if we are careful in the sun (wear hat) and sun cream and just check our skin every now and then, then there should be no problems and if we find anything no matter how trivial we think then ask to see a dermatologist, doctors don't alway recognise the signs. x

  • What drugs are you on/? at least its not maligant but it is a worry xx

  • I take a large cocktail of drugs Summer, Sulphasalazine, plaquenil, methetrexate and i was on ebrel injections for 3 months and more recently rituximab.

  • sorry enbrel injections

  • Yes I suppose that having our immune systems suppressed doesn't help. Its a balancing act though because you might have had non makignant skin cancer anyway but if we don't let the sun onto our skin then we can get very vitamin D defficient instead? I don't find I burn more easily than I used to since MTX, altgough i'm very fair snd had a bad sunlight reaction when briefly on Sulpha - but I do really crave sunshine and sense my need for Vit d is very great these days. Tilda xx

  • Ps oh and shoukd have said sorry you had this problem - my mum used to have it a lot, my husband too - and both were told it was probably from childhood sun exposure. At least its non malignant.

  • Bizarrely the first time I saw the rheumatologist she discovered a mole, she got the derma too and a 2 weeks later I was told it was stage 2 malignant melanoma, had another op to make sure it hadn't gone deeper or spread, got the all clear at the beginning of Dec 2012. I wasn't give any meds for my ra at the time as she wasn't sure what meds I.e chemotherapy I would be on. Just started my ra meds now. Hope yours is OK x

  • *** dermatologist to check it**

  • Thanks Girls, My heavens Elaine that must have been a shock, thank goodness you have had the all clear and to think you might not have known if you hadn't went to the rheumatologist. Yes Tilda the sun is the main culprit so make sure all you lovely ladies (and men) protect yourselves from the sun especially if you are going abroad this year. I do love the sun but it doesn't really like me so i now prefer to sit in the shade xx

  • Hi mille and all, Some of you will know that I have recently been offered Anti-tnf treatment and was given leaflets for 4 different types to choose from. 3 of these drugs warn that there is a risk of developing cancer, particularly skin cancer.. It's a bit offputting to say the least, but there are side effects to most drugs, even some you can buy across the counter.

    So, I think it really is all about finding a comfortable place of acceptance in our minds after considering the alternative of not taking anything at all. I hope I don't sound blas'e and I'm certainly not brave, it's just all about coping with the cards I have been dealt, so to speak. June x

  • P.S just want to add a thought I just had. When I was 30 years old (that's 35 yrs ago), I had a regular smear test which turned up pre-cancerous cells in 4 places at the kneck of my cervix. Eventually I had a complete hysterectomy including ovaries, but it proved to me the neccessity for these regular examinations and I'm still here alive and kicking.

    Most of us are looked after very well whilst on the drugs we take and that helps a lot, I think.

  • Wise words June, i suppose everything has a risk, even crossing the road but if we all take care of ourselves as much as possible and get anything at all that we are worried about checked out then hopefully we will catch any problems early and they can get treated.

  • Yes mille, you are absolutely right. We can't leave anything to chance, can we. Being able to talk to each other here on this site is a great help too, because everyone's thoughts and views help us to make difficult decisions easier. June x

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