Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

DDW 2020: Risk of Skin Cancer in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020

Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease tend to have an increased risk of developing non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers. However, do these patients receive appropriate dermatology referrals? Not always. Omar Tageldin, MD, and his team at the Albany Medical Center in New York performed the initial phase of a retrospective quality improvement study and shared their results as part of the 2020 virtual Digestive Disease Week (DDW; Abstract Sa1784). To improve the low rates of dermatology referrals for these patients at their gastroenterology clinic, they implemented a checklist during each clinical encounter.

“Future studies will focus on evaluating the effect of this checklist on dermatology referrals,” the authors commented.

A total of 1,046 adult patients (mean age: 47 years) with a histologically confirmed diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease were seen in the medical center’s gastroenterology clinic between November 2013 and October 2018. Of these patients, just 162—about 15%—received a referral for skin cancer screening, and 10 were diagnosed with skin cancer on follow-up.

Inflammatory bowel disease, including both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, “is associated with an increased risk of…skin cancers for several reasons, including immune dysfunction and use of immunomodulating therapies,” noted Dr. Tageldin and colleagues. That is why the “American College of Gastroenterology clinical guidelines recommend skin cancer screening examinations for patients with inflammatory bowel disease regardless of the treatment regimen.” Of the 10 patients in this cohort diagnosed with skin cancer, two had squamous cell cancer (SCC), five had basal cell cancer (BCC), two had both SCC and BCC, and one had melanoma.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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