FLASCO

New Study Reveals Many Common Medications Increase Risk of Skin Cancer

  • FLASCO
  • July 25, 2019

Florida Cancer Specialists Oncologists Gerald Sokol, MD, MSc, FCP, Jorge Ayub, MD, Gail Wright, MD, FACP, FCCP and David Wenk, MD Co-Author New Research Study on Drug-Induced Photosensitivity

Fort Myers, FL – July 19, 2019… Many common medications, including antibiotics, drugs used for high blood pressure and to lower cholesterol, even over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin® or Aleve®, have unintended side effects and may increase the risk of developing skin cancers, according to a recent study led by Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS) radiation oncologist Dr. Gerald Sokol, who practices at the Hudson and New Port Richey locations of FCS. The study, which will be published in October at the annual meeting of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), was co-authored by three of Dr. Sokol’s colleagues at FCS: Dr. Jorge Ayub and Dr. Gail Wright, who also both practice at the Hudson and New Port Richey locations, and Dr. David Wenk, who practices at the New Port Richey location.

As the study discusses, certain medications, known as “photosensitizing/photoallergenic drugs,” undergo chemical reactions when exposed to the sun or other ultra-violet (UV) light sources and can increase the risk of developing skin cancers, especially in patients who have been previously diagnosed and treated for skin cancer. The study included 200 Caucasian patients who received radiation therapy for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the two most common types of skin cancers. Drug categories in the study included antibiotics, antifungals (for athlete’s foot, etc.) antihistamines (allergies), antihyperlipidemics (lowering cholesterol), antihypertensives (blood pressure), and NSAIDs, commonly used for arthritis and other mild to moderate pain management. In its conclusion, the study recommended that skin cancer patients minimize or take precautions in using photosensitizing drugs. It stated, “The common use of photosensitizing drugs in skin cancer patients could potentially increase their risk for development of additional skin cancers and/or recurrences.” Additional recommendations include sun protection measures be taken with clothing and the use of sunscreen, as well as intensive skin cancer screenings.


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Recognized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) with a national Clinical Trials Participation Award, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) offers patients access to more clinical trials than any private oncology practice in Florida. In the past 4 years, the majority of new cancer drugs approved for use in the U.S. were studied in clinical trials with Florida Cancer Specialists participation.* Trained in such prestigious medical schools and research institutes as Duke, Stanford, Harvard, Emory, M.D. Anderson, and Memorial Sloan Kettering, our physicians are consistently ranked nationally as Top Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.

Founded in 1984, FCS is one of the largest medical oncology/hematology practices in the United States. With more than 230 physicians, 220 advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and physician assistants (PA) and nearly 100 locations in our network, we are committed to providing world-class cancer care in community-based settings, close to home.

Florida Cancer Specialists has built a national reputation for excellence that is reflected in exceptional and compassionate patient care, driven by innovative clinical research, cutting-edge technologies and advanced treatments, including targeted therapies, genomic-based treatment, and immunotherapy.  Our highest values are embodied by our outstanding team of highly-trained and dedicated physicians, clinicians and staff.

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