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Can Breast Cancer Cause Itchy Skin

What Causes A Rash Under The Breast

Skin can show early signs of breast cancer

The main causes of intertrigo are:

  • moisture
  • friction between skin folds

This can lead to:

  • a red or reddish-brown rash
  • raw, itchy or weeping skin with or without a smell
  • cracked skin
  • pain

Intertrigo can occur anywhere on the body where skin rubs against skin, such as between the thighs or on the underside of the belly or armpit.

A warm, moist environment encourages infection by either yeast, fungus or bacteria. Sometimes swelling, sores and blisters can also occur.

If you think you have intertrigo, speak to your GP as there are other skin conditions that might look similar.

When Is Itching A Sign Of Skin Cancer

Itchy skin could be a sign of skin cancer if it is accompanied by:

  • A new skin growth or lesion
  • A change in a mole, such as a spread of pigment beyond the border
  • A sore that continually crusts over but doesnt heal
  • A rough or scaly skin patch
  • A pink, pearly bump that bleeds easily

Because it can be difficult to distinguish between a cancerous and noncancerous skin condition, its important to promptly discuss any new, changing or unusual rashes or moles with a physician.

Diagnosing Paget’s Disease Of The Nipple

You should see your GP if you notice any changes in the skin of your nipple or areola.

As Paget’s disease of the nipple is associated with breast cancer, the sooner it’s diagnosed, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Also see your GP if you develop a lump in your breast. Although most breast lumps are not cancerous, it’s important to have them checked out.

A biopsy is used to confirm a suspected diagnosis of Paget’s disease of the nipple. A small tissue sample will be taken from your nipple and examined under a microscope to see if it’s cancerous.

If the results of the biopsy indicate Paget’s disease, you’ll have a mammogram to investigate further.

Read more about diagnosing Paget’s disease of the nipple.

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Diagnosing Pagets Disease Of The Nipple

As Pagets disease of the nipple is usually a sign of breast cancer, it’s very important you see your GP if you notice changes to the tissue or skin of your breast.

In particular, you should tell your GP if you notice any changes to:

  • the skin of your nipple or areola
  • your breasts, particularly lumps in your breast

Pagets disease of the nipple can sometimes be confused with eczema, a skin condition that also causes red, itchy and dry skin.

Therefore, you should visit your GP for a diagnosis rather than assuming you have eczema. Pagets disease is a form of breast cancer and the sooner it’s diagnosed, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Your GP will examine both breasts, even if you only have a problem with one of them. They may also ask you:

  • about your symptoms and how long you have had them
  • whether you have a history of eczema, or have eczema anywhere else on your body
  • whether you have a personal or family history of breast cancer
  • your age and whether you have experienced the menopause
  • whether you’re taking any medication, including hormone replacement therapy , which is used to treat some of the symptoms of the menopause, or the oral contraceptive pill
  • how much alcohol you drink
  • how much you weigh and if you have recently gained weight

If your GP thinks you may have breast cancer, they will refer you to a specialist breast clinic for tests.

It’s Super Dry Outside

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The skin around your nipples is a lot more sensitive than the skin on other parts of your body, says Dr. Zeichner. This may make it more prone to irritation, dryness, and inflammation, especially in dryer weather. “Cold, dry weather strips the skin of essential oils, disrupting the outer skin layer, resulting in loss of hydration, and inflammation,” explains Dr. Zeichner.


If you’re experiencing dry or flaky skin, he suggests applying a moisturizer to help repair the skin barrier. “Look for ingredients like petrolatum, ceramides, or colloidal oatmeal,” says Dr. Zeichner, who often recommends Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion, given that it helps build a protective seal over the skin without leaving you feeling sticky.

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What Causes Itchy Skin On Your Breast

There are many possible causes of itching on, under, or between your breasts. When theres a rash or obvious, red irritation, you could be dealing with:

  • Yeast infection.Yeast infections in the breast area are fungal infections often formed in the warm, moist area under the breasts. They are usually red, irritated, and extremely itchy.
  • Eczema.Atopic dermatitis also results in an itchy red rash around the breast or other areas of the skin. Its generally caused by the skins inability to hold onto moisture and to the good bacteria that helps protect it from irritants.
  • Psoriasis.Psoriasis forms itchy red patches of dry, dead skin due to uncontrolled skin cell growth. Its common to get irritated patches of psoriasis on or under the breasts.

Itching under, between, or on your left or right breast without a rash could be slightly harder to diagnose. More than likely its the result of:

  • growing breasts that are stretching the skin
  • dry skin

Nipple Pain Redness Scaliness And Oozing

If both nipples are irritated they might be red, oozing, and scaly, usually with accompanying itching and pain you probably have a skin condition, like eczema. Your doctor can prescribe something to help treat it.

If the symptoms are in just one nipple, and the problem doesnt go away with treatment, then you might have a rare type of breast cancer, Pagets Disease of the Breast. Dont let your doctor ignore this possibility if your eczema doesnt respond to treatment, then ask for further tests to rule out cancer.

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What Are Skin Metastases

Skin metastases are secondary breast cancers that form on or just below the skin.

Secondary breast cancer happens when cancer cells spread from the breast to other parts of the body. Sometimes breast cancer cells can spread to the skin. This can happen through the blood or lymphatic system.

The most common sites affected are the areas near where the original breast cancer was for example the skin of the chest wall or around the surgical scar. Less commonly, skin metastases can occur on other areas of skin, such as on the scalp, neck, abdomen, back and upper limbs.

About a fifth of people with secondary breast cancer will develop skin metastases.

This is not the same as having cancer that starts in the skin. The cells that have spread to the skin are breast cancer cells.

Its also different to local recurrence, which is when primary breast cancer has come back in the chest or breast area, or in the skin near the original site or scar.

Leukemias Lymphomas And Multiple Myeloma

Is Itchy Skin a Sign of Skin Cancer? | Skin Cancer

Any type of blood-related cancer may present with itching, but the most common culprits include Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and cutaneous T cell lymphoma .

With cutaneous T cell lymphomas, the cancer can cause itching both due to direct skin involvement and due to the secretion of inflammatory substances such as interleukin-31.

Myelodysplastic disorders such as polycythemia vera also commonly present with itching.

With both T cell lymphomas and myeloproliferative disorders, itching of the skin due to the exposure to water may even be present for years before the cancer is diagnosed.

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Unconventional Signs Of Breast Cancer That You Must Know About

Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. The chances of getting the disease increase as you age, but detecting it at an early stage could be life saving. In this article I am going to discuss uncommon signs and symptoms of breast cancer that many people overlook.

The majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in people who are aged 40 and up, but in the instances where it affects younger people it tends to be more aggressive. This makes early detection an essential part of treating the disease within its onset stages.

Its important to have a firm grasp of bodily knowledge, as the earliest stages of breast cancer usually come without pain. The most common indicator is the discovery of a lump, but cancer goes through multiple progressive stages before these lumps form. It may sometimes take years for lumps to develop, so people shouldnt rely solely on lumps to indicate breast cancer, as they usually indicate an already progressive disease.

There are several signs that the American Cancer Society claim should be analyzed closely by a specialist. It is important to remember that these signs arent definitive proof of existing breast cancer. They can sometimes indicate smaller hormonal or health factors, so visiting an expert can clear any ambiguity. Some of the more obvious signs are:

  • Change in breast structure
  • Changes in the skin or nipple

How To Manage Skin Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy

There are a number of things you can do to help make your skin less sensitive during radiation treatment and also help your skin heal after radiation treatment is completed.

Here are some steps you can take to help prevent and treat irritation before and after daily radiation treatments:

  • Moisturize: At the beginning your radiation treatment, before you have any side effects, moisturize the skin after your daily treatment with an ointment such as A& D, Eucerin, Aquaphor, Miaderm, Biafene, or Radiacare. You also can put it on at night wear an old T-shirt so the ointment doesn’t get on your bed clothes. If your skin becomes dry and flakey during the course of your treatment, moisturize frequently and cleanse skin gently.
  • Dress comfortably:
  • Wear loose-fitting shirts, preferably made from cotton.
  • Avoid wearing underwire bras or any bra that digs into your skin. Dont wear a bra if there are raw areas.
  • Take care when showering or bathing:
  • Use warm rather than hot water.
  • Try to not let the spray from the showerhead directly hit your breast. Let the water hit your shoulder and run down over the affected area.
  • Avoid strong soaps and soaps with fragrance. Use fragrance-free soaps with moisturizers .
  • Avoid scrubbing with wash clothes or loofahs.
  • Avoid skin-on-skin contact: To help prevent redness and skin irritation, avoid skin-on-skin contact that can cause friction, moisture, pressure, and heat. The areas where this most often happens are:
  • Written by: Jamie DePolo, senior editor

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    How Does It Work

    Electrical impulses change the outer layer of the cancer cells in the treated area. Gaps called pores open up on the cells surface for a short time. This allows the chemotherapy drug to enter the cancer cells more easily. Once the pores close, the chemotherapy is sealed inside the cells.

    The dose of chemotherapy drug is much lower than when its given to treat the whole body.

    Tests For Skin Metastases

    Itchy breasts but no rash: 5 causes

    A member of your treatment team will examine you and look at your skin. Theyll also discuss any other symptoms you have.

    To confirm a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer in the skin, you may have a punch biopsy. Youll be given a local anaesthetic before a tiny cutter device is used to take a very small piece of tissue from the area. Its not unusual for the area to bleed a little after the biopsy so youll usually be given a small dressing or plaster afterwards.

    You may also have a CT scan, also known as a CAT scan, to check for any other areas of spread. This type of scan uses x-rays to take a series of detailed pictures of the body. Its painless but during the CT scan you have to lie still for around half an hour. Sometimes you will have dye injected into a vein, usually in your arm, before you have the scan so that different areas can be seen more clearly.

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    You’ve Recently Had Breast Surgery

    If youve recently had any kind of breast surgery, youre probably expecting pain, soreness, or tenderness in the days afteras well as itching.

    After surgery, as part of the healing process, histamine is released and swelling of the breast occurs, says Lyda E. Rojas Carroll, MD, a general surgeon who specializes in breast surgery at CareMount Medical. That may stimulate nerve endings and cause itching.


    To alleviate the itching caused by swelling, Dr. Carroll recommends wearing a surgical bra and applying ice.

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

    One of the most common signs of breast cancer is a lump, but the presence of a lump can also indicate something benign, like a cyst. Lumps are also typical for some breasts, and often, people who menstruate find their breasts get lumpier due to the hormonal changes.

    Its essential to understand what are normal and abnormal changes in your body. For example, hormonal changes are notorious for causing all sorts of changes in our bodies, and some of those changes can present as symptoms of breast cancer.

    Regular mammograms are the best ways to detect breast cancer symptoms, but you can spot some specific signs on your own.

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    Request An Appointment At Moffitt Cancer Center

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    Moffitt Cancer Center is committed to the health and safety of our patients and their families. For more information on how were protecting our new and existing patients, visit our COVID-19 Info Hub

    What Symptoms Of Breast Rash Are Cause For Concern

    Itchy breast cancer awareness message

    Whenever breast rash is accompanied by other symptoms such as infection, fever, a lump underneath the skin, swelling of the throat, or failure to get better after a reasonable period of treatment, a doctor should be consulted. It can be difficult to self-diagnose the cause of a breast rash, and in some cases a delay in treatment can be the difference between a successful outcome and a more serious health condition.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/19/2018.


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    How Can We Treat It

    To treat itchy breasts, the key is to avoid whatever is causing the problem. Avoid strong perfumes, and heavily fragranced fabric conditioner or laundry detergents, advises Dr Clare. Protect exposed skin from sunburn by applying a sun-blocking moisturiser and wear a well-fitting, cotton bra that gives sufficient support for your lifestyle.

    For dry skin use a moisturiser. To treat eczema apply a mild topical steroid, such as hydrocortisone cream. Urticaria usually responds to antihistamines, she adds.

    Usually a simple over-the-counter topical cream or gel can help soothe itching breasts, agrees Dr Zoya. If you have itching that feels like its coming from under the skin of your breast, you may prefer to use an antihistamine. If you do suspect you have an allergic reaction or your skin is irritated, try switching up your current bath products, soaps, washing powder and other cosmetics.

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    Common Causes Of Cancer Itch In Patients

    While itching can be annoying, you should not usually worry about it. Most often, the cause is dry skin caused by spending hours in a dry hospital environment or repeated cleaning of the skin while undergoing treatment. To help resolve itching, use a rich body lotion or cream after showering or bathing, and be sure to drink plenty of water.

    Another common cause of itching can be an allergy. While you are preoccupied with your cancer, you may not be as vigilant about avoiding things you are allergic to. Do a mental review of your diet and the places youve been to see if you may have been in contact with one of your triggers. An antihistamine and avoiding your allergens may be all you need.

    Some patients experience itching or flushing while undergoing treatment for cancer. In this case, itching may begin almost immediately after the start of the infusion. Tell your doctor or your nurse if this happens to you. Some drugs commonly cause a skin reaction and an itch. In this case, the drug can be stopped temporarily and then resumed at a lower pace. If the itching persists, your doctor may prescribe a stronger antihistamine or change your treatment protocol to make you more comfortable.

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    What Causes A Rash Between Breasts

    A rash is a symptom that causes the affected arear of the skin to turn red and blotchy or swell. The rash may cause spot that are bumpy, scaly, and flaky or filled with pus. Depending on what is causing the rash the symptoms may vary from one person to the other. The most common causes will include

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    What Types Of Skin Cancer Can Cause Itching

    Itchy Skin During Menopause

    When itching is traced to skin cancer, the cancer is usually a non-melanoma type, such as squamous cell carcinoma or, less often, basal cell carcinoma. In general, pain and tenderness are more commonly associated with skin cancer than itchy skin, but cancer can potentially irritate the fine nerve endings in the skin and cause an itching sensation.

    An oncologist in the Cutaneous Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center can help you determine if your itchy skin lesion or mole is cancerous. You can request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing our new patient registration form online. Our multispecialty team provides a full range of screening, diagnostic, treatment and supportive care services in one location without the need for referrals.

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