Providing Optimal Care to Patients with Dermatologic Needs Resulting from Cancer and Cancer Treatments

The Department of Dermatology at the George Washington (GW) Medical Faculty Associates, the largest independent physician practice group in the D.C. region with more than 750 providers and 51 clinical specialties, is proud to announce the establishment of the Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic/Program.

What is Supportive Oncodermatology

The major shift in chemotherapeutics in the last decade has been driven by the development of “targeted” agents. This has resulted in improved patient survival, but, unfortunately, a wide spectrum of dermatologic toxicities affecting the majority of patients. Their significant burden on patients ' quality of life (QoL) has heightened the importance of dermatologic health in cancer patients, leading to the emergence of “supportive oncodermatology,” a discipline dedicated to dermatologic health in cancer patients undergoing therapy, as well as cancer survivors.

The field of supportive oncodermatology can facilitate improved awareness of dermatologic toxicities and research efforts, with the mutual goal of maximizing quality of life, and importantly, optimizing utilization of potentially life-prolonging anticancer interventions. In partnership with the newly-established GW Cancer Center, the Supportive Oncodermatology Program will serve the comprehensive dermatologic needs of cancer patients by addressing issues such as:

  • Excessive dry skin
  • Itching
  • Skin changes as side effects from chemotherapy/biologics (including rashes, nail, and hair changes)
  • Skin infections
  • Radiation dermatitis

Importantly, the program also will address skin cancer as both a prior history of any form of cancer, as well as utilization of targeted cancer therapies, can increase the risk for both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers.

Leveraging the expertise of GW’s growing Department of Dermatology and the GW Cancer Center, the priority for the Supportive Oncodermatology Program will be to offer patients the most effective protection from and treatment for the broad array of cancer and treatment associated skin sequalae.

Dr. Adam Friedman, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Residency Program Director, and Director of Translational Research in the Department of Dermatology will serve as Director of the Supportive Oncodermatology Program.

The GW Cancer Center and La Roche Posay Partnership

The GW Cancer Center and La Roche Posay have a unique partnership centered on the prevention and treatment of skin related adverse effects of chemotherapy. Under the direction of Dr. Adam Friedman, this sponsorship provides funding for navigation services to ensure that patients have rapid access to the clinic so that issue are resolved early, dramatically  improving outcomes.  In addition, this partnership provides funding for the development of educational materials for both oncology providers as well as patients.