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July 1, 2020

Outcomes of Embedding Dermatologic Care Within Oncology Practices for Patients With Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(10):1051-1052. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.1794

The global burden of cancer is enormous, with more than 18 million new cases of cancer reported in 2018 and with 29.5 million new cancer diagnoses projected for 2040.1 Two-thirds of patients with cancer now survive longer than 5 years after diagnosis2 in large part owing to recent advances in treatment options, including novel targeted cancer therapies and immunotherapies, many of which are associated with skin toxicity that can interrupt anticancer therapy and disrupt a patient’s quality of life.3,4 Traditional cytotoxic chemotherapies preferentially destroy cells that turn over quickly, including hair, mucosa, and skin, resulting in a high frequency of alopecia, mucositis, and hand-foot syndrome. Newer targeted therapies, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors, disrupt the activity of specific molecular pathways involved in the growth of cancer cells and in skin function, and are associated with skin toxicity and the subsequent consideration of the interruption of cancer therapy in more than 25% of patients.3 For patients with cancer who are receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors to unleash the body’s immune cells against malignant cells, dermatitis is the most prevalent immune-related adverse event; dermatologists are the second most sought-out subspecialists consulted for patients who experience immune-related adverse events during treatment.4

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