Alert Number 125
Date: September 8, 2005
I have written several times regarding the increased risk of skin cancer in CLL patients. This risk is even more pronounced if you have been through immune suppressive therapy (fludarabine is a frequent culprit). Skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma pose little risk to healthy people if diagnosed and treated promptly. However, these same cancers can become much more aggressive and dangerous in CLL patients. They can indeed become downright life-threatening.
The other major concern is the “silo mentality” we often face in the medical profession. CLL doctors do not want to deal with skin cancer issues, and dermatologists are sometimes not aware of the seriousness of skin cancer in CLL patients. The net result: I have heard of many patients with both problems who sometimes fall between the cracks with no one looking at the whole patient. It is hard to find physicians who cross the narrow disciplines of their expertise. I know, I have been trying to find CLL-savvy dermatologists.
I am happy to report I have found one physician that fits the bill. Dr. Jack Arbiser of Emory University is one of the authors of the recent “Blood” article we reviewed, in which the potential benefits of honokiol (magnolia bark extract) in CLL was explored (Honokiol). We also reported an internet interview we conducted with Dr. Arbiser and Dr. David Frank of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Arbiser’s co-author on the honokiol paper (Honokiol Interview). Dr. Arbiser’s area of expertise is dermatology and his research interests make him familiar with CLL issues. With his permission, I am reproducing his contact information below. File it away some place. Down the road, if you run into skin cancer problems, you will have some one to call. I do not have to tell you not to ‘burn’ our resources, please do not phone or bother Dr. Arbiser with issues that do not involve skin cancer, OK?
Jack L. Arbiser, MD, PhD
Department of Dermatology
Emory University School of Medicine
Winship Cancer Institute
1639 Pierce Drive WMB 5309
Atlanta, GA 30322
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