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Humira concerns

Anyone on Humira that has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and still taking it? I’ve only been on Humira since April 2022 and recently visited my dermatologist and my biopsy came back as squamous cell carcinoma. I don’t feel as if my new diagnosis is related to Humira since I haven’t been taking it very long, but I’m concerned with continuing it. I see my rheumatologist next week. Thank you in advance for any suggestions/input.

  1. Hi . Your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma is definitely higher when taking biologics. It's hard to say whether Humira caused your cancer since it is so common and usually caused by sun exposure, but your bout of squamous cell carcinoma is good reason for concern. Though squamous cell carcinoma is easily treated, it's still cancer and cancer is scary. Biologics suppress your immune system, making you more susceptible to cancer and a host of other health issues, so it will be interesting to hear what your doctor thinks. I hope you get responses from others in the community who have experience with this and that you never develop skin cancer again. Keep us posted if you feel comfortable doing so. Thinking of you and sending lots of healing thoughts your way. - Lori (Team Member)

    1. Update: went to see my rheumatologist and I told him I was 50/50 on continuing Humira. After discussing my concerns, we decided to continue for 3 more months to see if my symptoms continue to improve. If my symptoms don’t improve, I’ll discontinue Humira and we will seek other alternatives. Such a hard decision to make.

    2. I am glad you have a doctor who is taking your concerns seriously and is willing to work with you, . It is a very difficult decision, having to weigh your current quality of life against the very real risk of cancer. This sounds like a good way to determine just how much weight to give Humira. Gentle hugs. - Lori (Team Member)

  2. I was on Humira and many other biologics and I was diagnosed a few years ago with aplastic large cell lymphoma. Cancer but of a different variety. My doctor told me that he thinks one of the meds over the years caused it but he couldn't pin down which. I know this isn't the answer you are looking for but I just wanted to chime in to say that if you need anything or just want to talk about cancer, me and a few others here have been through it so please don't hesitate to reach out. Keep on keepin' on, DPM

    1. Thank you for your response. It’s nice to know there is this community to reach out to for support. Having access to medications that are beneficial to our diagnosis is rewarding but yet come with so many side effects and risks.

    2. It's always a trade off, that's pretty much the name of the game when it comes to RA. Every thing we do is always, "well I can do this for maybe better now, and maybe worse later on... is it worth it.. let's roll the dice!" lol btw I like your SN "Serendipity." -DPM

  3. I've been on Humira for 15+ years. No diagnosis of any kind of cancer. I really think there's no direct causal relationship between RA drugs and cancer......other than immunosuppressants leave your body vulnerable to other diseases such as cancer. I believe the predisposition for cancer has to be there to start with. Just my two cents.

    1. Hi . Sorry to hear about the cancer diagnosis. I discovered this paper which did a meta-analysis of studies looking at the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer from biologics and found increased risk for those RA and psoriatic arthritis patients on biologics: https://cancerci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12935-021-02325-9. What I didn't find was research on the use of biologics by those who have received the cancer diagnosis. This, of course, doesn't mean that such research doesn't exist. Really hoping your doctor has some good information and guidance for you. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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