Dermatology Associates of Atlanta News Highlight: Study Shows People with IBD at Higher Risk for Skin Cancer

A WebMD recently featured a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in San Diego that linked IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) medication to higher risk of skin cancer. According to the research findings, people with IBD that take immunosuppressant medications (especially ones of the thiopurine class) were found to be more than 3 times as likely to get skin cancer than IBD suffers not taking medication.

IBD is an umbrella term for people with Crohn’s disease and for people with ulcerative colitis and is different than the more common ailment, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

Previous studies have shown that people with IBD are 1.6 times more likely to get noncancerous skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and sqaumous cell carcinoma) than people without IBD. But this is the first study to pinpoint the specific medications as the source of the increased risk.

Skeptics of the study point to the fact that any chronically immunosuppressed persons are at higher risk for cancer and recommend that IBD sufferers not change their medications, just urge them to practice better preventative skin care.

Findings such as these highlight the importance of annual skin cancer screening by a board certified dermatologist. You never know what about your medical history will contribute to a higher risk of skin cancer, so it is important that everyone practice safe sun exposure and get their moles and “problem spots” checked regularly. Call our Dermatology Center to schedule a skin cancer screening today.

Source: WebMD