For several reasons wound healing in cancer patients is often complex. Cancer chemotherapies, as well as systemic corticosteroid therapy often prescribed in these cases, may cause of delayed healing. Progressive cancer is also often associated with malnutrition to agreater or lesser extent, which can also delay healing. In cancer patients, acute or chronic wounds will therefore generally take longer to healthan in a patient without progressive cancer.
Some cancer treatments can also cause wounds, such as radiation dermatitis (similar to a burn), but also hydroxycarbamide (Hydréa®), which is indicated for myeloproliferative syndromes and causes leg ulcers, in particular. In such cases, wound healing relates directly to the continuation or cessation of the cancer treatment.
Finally, it is advisable to consider skin cancer (melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, etc.) in the presence of any wound that is refractory to healing, particularly if it is haemorrhagic and bulging. In such cases, it is advisable to be aware of this issue when taking the history, as patients often mention a traumatic origin which can mislead the practitioner.
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