Remicade and skin cancer

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 377
   Posted 11/15/2009 8:46 PM (GMT -6)   
OK, so I'm probably jumping the gun, but yesterday I noticed a mole on my arm looked a lot different than it did before. There are darker spots within it now that aren't the same color as the rest of the mole. I know that one of the side effects of Remicade is an increase in cancer- skin is listed as one of them. Obviously, I'm calling my doctor tomorrow to have it checked out, but if it turns out it is skin cancer, does that mean I should probably think about getting on another drug besides Remicade? If you get some type of cancer while on Remicade, does that mean you should probably discontinue the use?

I'm afraid if this is skin cancer, that I don't know if there is some other type of cancer that could or may be developing. And, i don't know enough about the TNF-a, but from my minimal understanding, isn't that supposed to help kill cancer cells?

I'm such a worry wart, and getting Crohn's hasn't helped it much. I've never liked medicine, but I don't want to go back to the pain I was in when I was diagnosed. Although, I really don't want cancer (not that anybody does).

Sigh...anybody know the protocol for Remicade and cancer appearance?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 11/16/2009 1:13 AM (GMT -6)   
You need to see a dermatologist for that. He/she would be better able to answer those questions than most here. It really is not possible to assess moles without a lot of training and descriptions don't work for me. I can't tell a mole from a keratosis, so you really need to get an expert on board.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 414
   Posted 11/16/2009 12:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok firstly just go to your doc and they will either remove it there and send it off for biopsy or they will refer you to a dermatologist/plastic surgeon to remove it at the hospital.
I recently had a freakout as my GP told me he suspected I had a cancerous mole and in front of me filled out an urgent referral for suspected melanoma - I FREAKED OUT!!! I went to a plastic surgeon as my GP didn't think he should remove it, my pre-surgery lookover they identified 2 more that should go and then when I met with the plastic surgeon she looked at them and said that even with my history (remicade, methotrexate and phototoxic reaction) she very much doubted they were, people get new moles all the time and they can change its just what they do and rarely means cancer. She said my GP is just playing it safe. She did still remove them (just over a week ago infact!) as she said they could possibly become a nuisance but strongly doubts it is anything to worry about. I'll find out in a week or so if it was or not but I'm pretty positive after what she had to say.
My main suggestion is go to a doctor and get it checked/biopsied. Try not to worry until you get results! Stressing can cause all sorts of trouble with Crohn's. Majority of skin cancer is treated with surgery and regular check ups, even if it did turn out to be skin cancer you may not have to stop meds but may be a bit more likely for a recurrance (which I guess would be caught in the regular check ups).

Rider Fan
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1445
   Posted 11/16/2009 12:41 PM (GMT -6)   
My GI told me he had one person get skin cancer while on remicade and he took her off it. I don't know if that would exclude her from all biologics. I don't think remicade causes the rapidly spreading skin cancer, but your doc can talk to you about that. Let us know what the doc says.
33 y/o male. Dx'ed in 1999. No surgeries.

Current meds: Humira 2/27/09. Proferrin iron pills.

Tried SCD, didn't work, now avoiding gluten and dairy.

Go Saskatchewan Roughriders!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5852
   Posted 11/17/2009 2:23 PM (GMT -6)   
     I get my first Remicade infusion tomorrow morning.  The way the doctor explained it to me is that if you have an underlying cancer somewhere in your system the Remicade can increase the risk of it spreading.  Scary to me.  I asked him if there was a blood test I could take to see if I had a cancer somewhere and he said there would be too many blood tests to run.  So, guess I have to just take my chances.  I have ulcerative proctitis and have been suffering a severe flare for the past two weeks.  6MP stopped working and I have been on prednisone far too many times, it gave me osteoporosis, high blood pressure and a few months ago my blood glucose shot up to 237!  So, enough of that already.
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008 for ten days.
Remission Nov 08 thru May of 09.
Flare May of 09 thru Aug of 09.  Meds: Colazal, 6MP, prednisone taper, probiotics, Benicar, calcium and multivitamin
Remission...too short...Sept and Oct.  Now in bad flare again...blood and mucus...back on prednisone, off the 6MP, waiting for approval from ins co to start Remicade.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 392
   Posted 11/17/2009 5:52 PM (GMT -6)   
My GI won't let me use any immune modulators or immune suppressors except for prednisone and only for a few months. I had a kidney cancer surgery a few years ago, and he's afraid these medicines could trigger the cancer to return.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 377
   Posted 11/17/2009 7:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, everyone. I'm scheduled to see my regular doctor in a few weeks. We'll see what she says. I'm scheduled to see my GI in a couple days...I'm not sure if I'm going to mention it to him. For some reason, I feel like he'll think I'm a hypochondriac. Although, i may just ask, because I want to know what his thoughts are.
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