Vero native returns to join the medical team at Scully-Welsh Cancer Center

Dr. Jonathan Braue [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

For Dr. Jonathan Braue, a newly-arrived dermatologist at the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital, moving to Vero Beach was a homecoming.

“I was born in this hospital,” says Braue. “My wife grew up here, too, and we have an almost-two year old little boy and a daughter on the way. My parents live here and her parents live here,” so returning to Vero is “awesome.”

From Citrus Elementary school to Oslo Middle School and Vero Beach High School, Braue went on to the University of South Florida, Vanderbilt and the Moffitt Cancer Center before his medical journey took this particular storybook twist.

“A local dermatologist introduced me to Dr. [James] Grichnik,” the director of the Scully-Welsh center, Braue says. “Scully-Welsh was kind of in its infancy when we first talked and we just stayed in touch.”

Eventually an offer was made and accepted, bringing Braue and his growing family back to their hometown.

Combining cancer care and dermatology seemed like the perfect match for engaging young physician.

“One of the reasons I went to Vanderbilt was to learn more about cutaneous lymphoma,” Braue says. “I’ve already had a couple of patients in my first week here [with that condition].”

That said, if you’ve never heard of “cutaneous lymphoma” you’re not alone.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute defines the disease as, “a rare subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that starts in the skin but it is not classified as a skin cancer because the cancer cells originate in white blood cells or lymphocytes, whereas skin cancers develop from other non-lymphoid cells.”

The American Cancer Society tries a simpler explanation saying, “Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in white blood cells. When a non-Hodgkin lymphoma starts only in the skin (not in other organs or tissues) it is called cutaneous lymphoma.”

“My goal,” says Braue, “is to get a cutaneous lymphoma multidisciplinary clinic here like they have at Vanderbilt and several other institutions around the country.

In addition he expects to “see a little bit of everything, but mostly on the cutaneous oncology side. People that have had non-melanoma skin cancers like Squamous and Basal, histories of melanoma, of course cutaneous lymphomas, which come in different varieties.”

In other words, it’s not just kind of one specific disease that Braue will be taking on here.

“Another passion of mine,” Braue continues, “is seeing patients who are having skin issues related to their chemotherapies and immunotherapies. There are actually a lot of those that happen, especially with the newer therapies that are coming out. I think dermatology can kind of play an integral role in helping treat their skin and managing it.”

Yes. You read that right. Certain cancer therapies can and do cause skin problems.

As Braue points out, “Patients can get blistering diseases that are autoimmune-related. Some of the immunotherapies will sort of rev-up your immune system and you can get things like “bullous pemphigoid,” a rare skin condition that causes large, fluid-filled blisters, “or really bad drug reactions like Stevens Johnson syndrome where you get blisters” or other skin problems.

Lung cancer patients, Braue continues, can be especially susceptible to the effects of certain drugs that can cause “an acne-like rash from head to toe,” that’s usually very itchy and somewhat painful for the patient.

In any event, having come home to Vero Beach, Braue is now accepting new patients while he and his wife await the newest member of their family who is slated to be born right here in Vero, too.

Just like her dad.

Dr. Jonathan Braue is a dermatologist with the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center at the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital. His office is at 3555 10th Court in Vero Beach. He can be reached at 772-226-4800.

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