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Are there rheumatologists that have experience in oncology or treating cancer patients?

Hi. I'm looking for a rheumatologist in the Los Angeles, CA area that specializes in treating cancer patients with autoimmune diseases.

Managing RA and colon cancer

I have RA x 17 years (I' 60) and diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer one year ago. I am having a lot of RA pain since I stopped my RA meds (Cimzia & Plaquenil) over a year ago upon my cancer diagnosis. My oncologists do not suggest I go back on a biologic/immunosuppressive drug because they feel that it allowed me to get stage 4 cancer in 3 years after an all clear colonoscopy. Chemo is designed to help your immune system to fight off the cancer. Biologics suppress/ block your immune system.

Seeking a new treatment option

I would like to find a treatment for RA other than ibuprofen and steroids that doesn't have a black box warning of "rare cancers" as a possible side effect. I'm considering going back on Plaquenil? Any referrals or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Most Rheumatologists are doctors of internal medicine who specialize in Rheumatology. I am sure there are doctors whoa re trained in both areas, but finding one might be difficult.

    I suggest calling the nearest medical school and asking if they know of such a person. I remain doubtful that a single doctor would actively practice in both areas.

    One more possibility is to seek a practice with both rheumatology and oncology. you might have more luck finding that situation than a dual practicing individual.

    I wish you the very best.

    rick - moderator

    1. Hello You are in a very difficult situation for sure! I'm not sure he would have recommendations, but might have some words of wisdom for you. Hang in there and you will be in my thoughts. -Leanne, Community Moderator

      1. Did someone say my name! Here I am, appearing like The Candyman! Oh wait, that's probably a bad example... yes, I have had RA for 30+ years and then lymphoma hit a few years ago now. The short answer in my case was no, but they were right next door hospitals. I only had to walk across the street, but I go to docs in Manhattan which has a TON of docs and hospitals. THe best you can realistically hope for, I think, is that your rheumatologist and oncologist actually talk to each other and listen to you, especially because some of the drugs are similar. Because of chemo I was actually on two biologics at once, which I was told was, "uncharted waters." Ha ha.. If I had a nickel.... Let us know how it goes, and basically, look for the best oncologist you can find and go from there. Keep on keepin' on, DPM

        1. Hi Daniel. Thank you for your response. I'm very curious what 2 Biologics you were on during chemo? I see the top Colon Cancer Dr. at City of Hope and one at the Roy Disney Cancer center. They both seem to frown on RA meds other than Plaquenil and Prednisone and have said that many of their patients that were on Biologics ended up with cancers. I think I need a new Rheumatologist that's not stuck in a rut. Mine's in complete denial that Cimzia could have brought on my colon cancer very fast by suppressing my immune system with the whole TNF thing. Guess I just have to keep looking.

          1. Hi ,

            Any luck in your search? We're rooting for you, and I hope you have found some leads on a doctor who feels like a better fit for your situation.

            Wishing you all the best,

          2. Thanks Tamara. I joined a few groups on FB and comparing situations with like people. Went back on Plaquenil but had to stop because of chest pains. No new Doctor suggestions yet.

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