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Topics Alert Archive

Alert Number 60

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Date: December 8, 2004

PC and I just got back from attending ASH2004. You can expect a bunch of new Topics Alerts and several full length articles on this website in the next week of so. The conference was a huge learning experience for me, as well as an opportunity to meet some of the big name researchers. In the meanwhile, we are digging out from under an avalanche of emails, so please forgive us if we are a little late in getting back to your individual emails.

One email we received as feedback from a CLL spouse caught my eye. With the writer's explicit permission, we are attaching it below. We have discussed skin cancer in CLL patients in several detailed articles on the website. If you are new to our website or you have not gotten around to reading these articles, I urge you to do so. Skin cancer can be an extremely serious complication in CLL, and our immune compromised status makes us susceptible to more aggressive versions of skin cancer.

At the same time, sun avoidance to protect against skin cancer means you need to take steps to avoid vitamin D3 deficiency. Vitamin D3 plays a major role in general health as well as in cancer prevention, and deficiency in this very important vitamin is reaching epidemic levels in our communities. This is particularly true in the winter months. Our website gives many excellent references that you can use when you discuss these issues with your doctor. Some of your aches and pains and general sense of not feeling well may be due to vitamin D3 deficiency, easily corrected with appropriate dosage of an inexpensive capsule!

Be well,



Thanks so much for the article on squamous cell and CLL--I only wish I'd found it earlier. My 53-year-old husband has been treated for CLL with chlorambucil for many years. He started getting cutaneous squamous lesions about three years ago, and was having them removed religiously from his face by a Mohs surgeon. About two months ago, one recurred in the same place, and the pathologist noted it had gotten into the vascular system. Unfortunately, the doctor who has been treating his leukemia for years was unaware of the connection. A month or two earlier my husband had noticed a small hard lump near his ear, but his doctor assured him it was only a swollen gland. As you can probably guess, it was squamous that had spread to the parotic gland. After much delay, a terrific surgeon at a northern California medical center removed this very aggressive tumor which had also moved around the ear canal. The surgery took ten hours and my husband will need radiation and chemo, as several lymph nodes were also involved. Obviously, this has been a nightmare for us. Please, Please, Please--Tell people not to fool around with squamous. I would also suggest CLL patients avoid Mohs surgery--they just don't get good enough margins. Thanks. You've got a great site here--Just wish I'd found it earlier!

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