Can itchy skin be a sign of cancer? What are itchy skin cancer symptoms? What does a skin cancer itchy spot look like?
A day cannot go by without you reaching your skin to itch. However, if it happens in annoying way to the point of you losing your sleep at night, you certainly have a problem and you ought to have it checked out. Before you can seek medical help, you can try some of these itchy skin relief creams, baths and home remedies. If the itching persists even after trying several of those solutions, you should seek medical help as itching could also signify a chronic problem.
According to skincancer.org, cancer of the skin affects over two million Americans yearly. To avoid being part of these statistics, you should pay attention to your body and watch for any body changes including tingling sensations on skin. The big question for most people with itchy skin is whether it means cancer. This article will give information on the types of itchy skin cancer and the symptoms. Similarly, you will understand how a skin cancer itchy spot looks like so that you can either look for other itchy skin causes and treat them or seek medical help immediately.
Itchy Skin Cancer Cause of Pruritus
Does skin cancer itch on skin? Yes it does. Several skin cancers can be detected early from the itching. The itching may occur all over the body or be localized particularly on the legs in older women and on the chest. Itchy skin cancer may not be necessarily on the skin, but also on some of your body organs.
It is also possible to get itching on skin from the various treatments administered to treat your type of cancer. Therefore, if you doctor identifies that you have itchy skin cancer and suggests you start on a certain treatment, it is important to find out what the side effects of that treatment would be.
Itchy skin cancer may be from the cancer of the:
- Leukemia, which occurs in the blood
- Hodgkin and non Hodgkin lymphoma
- Polycythemia vera
- Kaposi sarcoma an AIDs related type of cancer
- Carcinoid tumors
Itchy skin treatment that is responsible for your scratching includes:
- Biologic therapy
- Certain types of Chemotherapy treatment such as Cisplatin, Doxorubicin and Dannorubicin among others
- Radiation therapy
- A combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Transplant of the bone marrow
- Drugs that treat cancer symptoms such as painkillers, antibiotics and drugs to stop nausea from the chemo treatments
As you can see, skin cancer will manifest itself by itching on skin. Similarly, if you undergo treatment for skin cancer you will also experience itchy skin depending on the treatment used.
Can Itchy Skin Be a Sign of Cancer?
Itchy skin does not always mean cancer. You could have itching from dry skin especially in winter. Similarly, menopause is the other cause in women between the ages of 40 and 60. Itchy skin could also be a sign that you are dehydrated or living in an environment without moisture in the air.
Can itchy skin be a sign of cancer? It is part of the many signs of skin cancer. However, it is not the only sign there are various symptoms that indicate that you have cancer, as you will find out below. All the same, all types of cancers have itching as a symptom.
Can itchy skin be a sign of cancer? Itchy skin can only be a sign of cancer if it persists for more than four weeks. Furthermore, if the locations where the itch occurs seem to change in color, texture and thickness, then it could be a sign of cancer. Itching is the very first sign that cancer could be developing in your body. Therefore, if you have been itching for more than four weeks, it is best that you book an appointment with a skin specialist to rule out skin cancer.
It cancer is diagnosed early on your skin, you have high chances of survival and it will not spread to other areas.
Skin Cancer Symptoms Itchy Patches, Bumps and Moles
There are three types of cancers with itchy skin symptom. Each of these types manifests themselves on the skin differently. Therefore, it is important to note the difference.
The first type is the Basal Cell Carcinoma, often abbreviated as BCC. This is commonly appears on the face, neck, hands, arms and scalp. This could be a flat or sunken waxy patch. It could also be pink, brown, red or the color of your flesh. Sometimes it may also appear as a bump that does not heal or heals and returns.
Second skin cancer symptoms itchy patches or bumps are from Squamous Cell Carcinoma or SCC. This is common on bald scalps, on the ears, the face, arms and neck. It is often hard and crusty and may be thick. It bears a red color mostly.
Finally, skin cancer symptoms itchy moles are also known as melanomas. These are found on already existing moles or form as new moles on skin after the age of 21. If you find an existing or developing mole changing in color, size and shape, you should have a dermatologist examine it. Similarly, if it easily bleeds it could be a melanoma. Melanomas could also occur under toenails and fingernails. This is common on people with freckles. Too much exposure under the sun may lead to their formation in middle age.
The earlier these symptoms are detected the higher the chances of treatment and not spreading to other locations in the body. According to webmd.com the five survival rates stand at:
- 15% for cancer that spreads to other parts such as the brain and liver
- 62% when the cancer has spread to a neighboring tissue
- 98% if cancer is detected early and treated to avoid spreading
Therefore, do not ignore these symptoms on your skin. You can do a self-checkup every month to ensure that your skin is just the way it supposed to be.
Itchy Skin Liver Cancer and Jaundice
If you have itchy skin due to liver cancer, then you will also suffer from jaundice. If you notice any yellowing on skin and especially in the white part of your eyes, you should see a doctor immediately. This is because liver cancer occurs in the liver due to bile not being able to flow from the liver. The accumulation of this toxic fluid causes your skin and eyes to yellow.
Itchy skin liver cancer may also make you have pain on your right hand side just below your ribs. Some patients who have been diagnosed with this type of cancer have also complained about pain on their right shoulder. Due to the bile accumulation in the liver, the organ will expand and affect the surrounding organs such as the stomach. As a result, you may have a swollen abdomen. You may also feel sickly, tired and have no appetite.
Itchy Skin Cancer Symptoms – Diagnosis
In order to diagnose whether you have itchy skin cancer, the burning sensation is not proof enough. The doctors must run tests on you to find evidence of cancer cells on your skin. Consequently, you may be subject to biopsies.
There are two types of biopsies. Shave biopsy, which concentrates on the topical skin. Punch biopsy on the other hand goes deeper into the dermal layer. Another method of diagnosing may require the removal of the whole tumor for testing or just a part of it using a knife. These methods are known as incision and excisional biopsies
Rarely will a blood test be conducted to check the levels of the lactate dehydrogenase. These levels will help gauge how far the cancer has spread from your skin to other organs.
Skin Cancer Itchy Spot Appearance
A skin cancer itchy spot appears as follows:
- does not heal no matter what you use on it
- has persistent itching
- it has pain for more than a month
- it oozes
- ulcerates and breaks the skin continuously
- becomes larger in size or shape
- is different from your flesh color, it could be red, brown or black