Biologics and skin cancers

Been a while a while since I posted here. I have tried a few different biologics, and I am on my 4th Rheumy. I have tried Stelara, Enbrel and I am now on my 3rd infusion of Remicade, next Monday. In the last 2 weeks I have been Dx’d with one melanoma, one Squeamus Cell and one Basal Cell, the melanoma was on my face, it was about 7 months old. My doctors do not seem concerned and want me to go ahead with the Remicade. I realize if I stop it, I may make antibodies, to prevent it from working, so I will go ahead with the infusion. Has anyone else had a similar situation where biologics creat a situation for skin cancers to start growing?
I realize that I am ripe for skin cancer, being a old surfer and construction worker, but to have them start popping up all of a sudden is a little scary.
I have 5 stitches in my face, another spot with 4o stitches on my neck, 40 stitches on my arm, and they biopsied my 4th tow for melanoma also. I am “in stitches” about this…

I have had a re occurring squamous cell skin cancer since starting biologics 5 or so years ago. I have a family history of melanoma. My dermatologist said it is very important to have a full body check every year while on biologics and also to be aware between visits and check yourself thoroughly for anything that has the “ugly duckling” sign.
I’m having my yearly check on Monday. I hope your biopsies come out fine!

That is a long time between skin checks! Mine used to be every 6months, now it is every 3 months. Skin cancer can progress very rapidly after a year, it could be to late. My Derm missed the mealanoma at Nevembers check up, but caugth it this time.
The SCC on my arm was mistaken for Ps for 3 years!
I use my iPad to photgraph my back to check for changes, I have had a few moles change on me.
Good luck!

More often is probably better, but I have two excellent dermatologists and they feel yearly is good for me. I’m sure a bout with melanoma might switch that schedule up.

Well squemus cell can kill you too, but it is pretty slow growing. The Melanoma was about 7-8 months old, it was clacified as 1a, meaning still in the outer layer and not ulcerated. Still for a .4 mm spot, the surgeon took a 28mm x32mm chunk! That is about 1-1/4" round… probably would have been the same amount 6 months ago.
This Squamus masquerading as psoriasis is a scary thought, it was round and scaly just like my other spots, but never quite healed with the steroid cream. It also started getting bigger.

Well … I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from the tip of my nose in March. The general consensus (GP, derm, rheum, Moh’s surgeon) is that my Humira will have played part in the development of the BCC. Then again, I was a lifeguard with a peeling nose every summer for several years, in the pre-sunbloc era. (Yes, I am that old.)

I was scared silly that my rheumatologist might question my biologic treatment. But her view is (and she said it is the view of her colleagues too) that it’s easier to deal with spots and have the derm take them off than it is to risk the pain and damage of PsA. At this point, I’m in total agreement. My recommendation was a skin check every 6 months.

Being stitched up like that, JonSparky, is no picnic, is it? Good thing you’ve got a sense of humour: I’m in stitches now too.

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I has SCC removed from my nose a few years back, the surgeon did such a good job I mentioned it during my facial surgery and the plastic surgeon didn’t see it, I thanked him.
Yes, I feel the same way about biologics.
Here is my scar, it is quite stylish!

Here we go again! My Dermatologist thinks I might have skin cancer on my lower eyelid next to my eye, so tomorrow I am seeing a ophthalmologist. It is about 1mm x 1.5mm, I have had it for about 3 months. Hopefully it will be of no concern. I f they cut off my eyelid, how will I get any shut eye? Hard to sleep as it is, luckily I have a purring cat pillow!
I guess this is going to be a ongoing event, as they slowly cut parts off, kind of whittling away…

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Oh dear, Jon_Sparky
That’s miserable news. But it’s small, so I’m guessing they’ll make a neat job of it. By the way, my nose tip cancer scar is healing nicely.
Here’s hoping for the best!

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Thanks, well if it is 1.5mm, MOHS will remove an additional 3mm of good skin, so that is almost 5mm! But hopefully it will not be needed. Good to hear that the nose is healing up, it will be invisible in no time. My nose skin graft was about 6 years ago, the plastic surgeon didn’t even see it, on the operating table, he was kind of ticked… Now he is retired, I hope I wasn’t that last straw! :flushed:

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Not news that’s at all nice to hear I can only imagine but so glad cat remains a proper purring pillow:cat:

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Jon Sparky, what I’m seeing online are some really amazing eyelid repairs after moh’s excision of a basal cell carcinoma. I remember, though, about how I felt (and you probably felt) before my “nose job”. Now healed (for me, after a few months) it is nearly invisible.

I’m sure there are newbies reading this and wringing their hands. (Yoo hoo, @kris1010, are you there?) The truth is that people who use biologics tend to be more susceptible to carcinomas of the skin, the most usual being basal cell, also the least threatening. When I was diagnosed I was petrified that my rheumatologist would take me off my biologic. Actually, she was very matter-of-fact about it and explained that the risks and costs of discontinuing biologics were far greater than simply treating the lesion.

Was the biologic responsible for my skin cancer? Probably not on its own: I was a lifeguard in the 60s, when baby oil and iodine was considered to be sun protection. I spent five summers with a burned and peeling nose and shoulders so that’s probably a more major risk factor than my Humira. Still, dermatology wants my skin inspected yearly for dodgy spots. For me, that is a small price to pay for having energy, feeling well, being able to move my limbs, and avoiding my next joint replacement.

Hang in there, J_S! And keep cuddling that kitty.

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Yep, I’m here Seenie. Yikes on the skin cancer. I take it to heart since I’ve had years of sun exposure and the PUVB light therapy for years for the skin psoriasis. Jon_sparky I hope you’re feeling much better. And a purring kitty always makes for a wonderful recuperation. They know when we need them the most.

Sitting in the eye exam chair, waiting for the doctor.

Good Luck!!! :slight_smile:

Jon_Sparky, to be honest I’d rather have a black eye and the surgery behind me than spend the holidays thinking of what was to come. Whatever, best of luck to you and wishing for rapid healing for you.

Well, surgery it is. The only way to check is to biopsy, so the area will be removed, and if it is skin cancer, he got it all, if not, oh well… he does the surgery on the insid3 of the eyelid with desolving stitches, said it is about a 2 week black eye, perfect for the Christmas season!
Hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving!

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The fun never ends! Good luck, Jon_Sparky! It’s always something…
I have a “bump” just above my right knee and a couple weird-looking moles. I decided to have a full skin scan–I’ve had a lot of psoriasis and sunlamp treatments in my day, but live in Minnesota, so I didn’t overdo tanning. I’ve used tanning beds in the spring before vacations so I can camoflauge the psoriasis on my legs. That’s why I’m a little concerned about the bump by my knee. My skin scan is in December. Maybe the dumb bump will go away before then–but I’ll have the scan anyway…it would be nice to rule out anything bad!

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I have found that the most suspicious looking bumps and spots turn out to be normal, but the spot you don’t notice turn out to be skin cancer. One of my prevous Derms called them “body barnacles” and “marks of maturity”. Good luck with the skin check! I get them every 3 months now…

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I go to my GP every so often, strip off to the offending area & tell them ‘check these please and I’ll be out of here in no time’. Okay so far, though I have had a very atypical patch of P biopsied. What I seem to get is sebborreheic warts, ‘body barnacles’ is exactly right!

Good luck Jon and sorry you’re having to deal with this. Here’s hoping for a great outcome.

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I’m headed to the dermatologist on Wednesday morning. I have a spot on my left shoulder mirroring the exact place where I had the basal cell on the right side of my back removed the day I was diagnosed with PsA. Got something going on with a spot on the right side of my face, too.

Luckily, the new derm is part of the umbrella organization my rheumy is in, so they’ll have access to my (large) file.

Doesn’t help that my milk white skin burns easily. I burned badly three times in my 20s, once while at the (horse racing) track.