What You Can Expect During An Appointment Exploring The Type And Cause Of A Rash
Your doctor will look at the rash, and ask you about:
- When the rash started and how its progressed
- Your medical history
- What products or medications you have recently started using
- Your hygiene
While only a medical professional can diagnose the cause of your rash, hopefully, you now have more information about whats causing you to itch.
Remember, the top online doctors at PlushCare are available for same day appointments and can treat your rash without you needing to leave home.
Hand Foot And Mouth Disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection which typically affects children under the age of five. It may cause red spots that are either flat or raised on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and possibly the butt or genital area, along with painful, red blisters in the mouth and on the tongue and gums.
A fever is often the first symptom of hand, foot, and mouth disease, appearing three to six days after contact with the virus. Sores in the mouth appear a day or two later, followed by a rash on the hands and feet a day or two after that.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is typically mild. Your child should see a doctor if sores in the mouth prevent drinking or if symptoms worsen after a few days.
When To See A Board
Many of the signs and symptoms described here occur in people who have other conditions, such as eczema. If you have been diagnosed with eczema and treatment doesnt help, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.
ImagesImages 1, 3, 4: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Images 2, 5, 6: Used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology:
2 J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 77:489-96
5 J Am Acad Dermatol 2014 70:205.e1-16
6 J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 77:719-27
ReferencesHabif TP, Campbell JL, et al. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In: Dermatology DDxDeck. Mosby Elsevier, China, 2006: Card 131.
Jawed SI, Myskowski PL, et al. Primary cutaneous T-cell lymphoma : Part I. Diagnosis: Clinical and histopathologic features and new molecular and biologic markers. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014 70:205.e1-16.
Mangold AR, Thompson AK, et al. Early clinical manifestations of Sézary syndrome: A multicenter retrospective cohort study. J Am Acad Dermatol 2017 77:719-27.
Sahni D. Whats new in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In: Novel therapies for cutaneous malignancies: What’s new and what’s ahead. 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology 2018 February 16-20. San Diego, CA.
Yosipovitch G and Kwatra SG. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In: Living with itch: A patients guide. The Johns Hopkins University Press. United States, 2013: 52-5.
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Noncancerous Causes Of Skin Rash
While some cancers can lead to a skin rash, rashes can also be caused by a variety of other much less dangerous sources.
Most rashes are commonly harmless and unlikely to cause permanent damage. If you notice an unexplained rash suddenly appearing on your skin, visit a health care provider for advice and treatment.
Common Rashes Pictures And Descriptions
There are many different kinds of rashes out there. Some are mild and some are potentially life threatening. Here, well take a look at a variety of rashes and use photos to help you identify the difference between them.
Only a doctor can diagnose your rash so if you have one, its crucial you seek medical attention as it may be a sign of an underlying condition. You can see a doctor about your rash without leaving home by booking an online appointment with PlushCare. Our doctors are all graduates from the top 50 U.S. medical schools and are highly trained to treat rashes online.
Our primary care physicians are an affordable alternative to dermatologists and can help get you the treatment you need.
Appointments as low as $20.
Use our cost checker to see what you’ll pay
97% of conditions are successfully treated on the first visit.
In order to receive the best treatment, it is recommended that you send your doctor pictures of your rash prior to your appointment so they can make a diagnosis and provide you with a treatment plan. This can easily be done via the PlushCare app or even via email after you book your appointment.
Here are pictures and descriptions of 21 types of rashes.
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Red Pinpricks With Flu
A red pinprick rash under the skin can signal meningitis, a sometimes fatal condition.
The symptoms of meningitis mimic the flu , and the rash may not always occur early on.
It starts as small, red pinpricks before spreading quickly and turning into red or purple blotches, the NHS says.
You can check if you or your child has it by pressing a glass against the rash – if it does not fade on pressure, then it is caused by meningitis.
It can be a sign of sepsis caused by meningitis and you should call 999 straight away.
All parents are told to vaccinate their babies against meningitis very early on.
Rashes Caused By Skin Lymphoma
Although Hodgkin lymphoma generally doesnt cause a rash, other forms of lymphoma can. For instance, skin lymphomaa type of non-Hodgkin lymphomacan cause skin irritation. There are various types of skin lymphoma, including T-cell skin lymphoma and B-cell skin lymphoma. The most common form of T-cell skin lymphomaaccounting for almost half of all skin lymphoma casesis mycosis fungoides .
Its important to note that although skin lymphoma develops in the skin, its not a type of skin cancer. Whats more, another type of lymphoma that starts elsewhere in the body and then spreads to the skin is not skin lymphoma.
When a rash caused by skin lymphoma is in its early stages, it often presents as small patches of dry, red skin on the torso, buttocks or another area of the body. At this stage, the rash often resembles dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis. Certain areas of skin may also thicken, harden and form plaques that itch and ulcerate. Typically, these plaques develop on the face or buttocks or within skin folds. As a skin lymphoma rash progresses, papules may start to appear. Some individuals with skin lymphoma also experience erythroderma, a reddening of the skin thats often accompanied by dryness, itchiness and scaliness.
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Rashes On Body Could Indicate Cancer Says Study
A new study suggests that while red, blotchy skin could indicate all number of ailments or allergic reactions, in rare cases, breaking out in a rash could be sign for cancer.
The cancerous rashes, according to experts, look similar to those caused by psoriasis or eczema.
These sorts of rashes can cause red patches, itching, burning and dry, scaly skin. Raised blueish or yellow bumps may also appear.
Experts go on to add that this type of rash lasts longer than other skin conditions and will likely grow in size or change as the cancer progresses.
It does not disappear even when one uses topical treatments and creams.
Speaking to The Sun, Dr Walayat Hussain, for the British Association of Dermatologists, said rashes can be a sign of cancer but stressed that most rashes are nothing to be concerned about.
Heres a guide of rashes that could indicate carcinomas in the body.
Patchy red rash that turns scaly: Mycosis fungoides is a common rash in patients diagnosed with lymphoma. Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system. It is very dangerous as in such cases the cancer cells travel the body through the bloodstream. They grow in several places at once, affecting multiple parts of the body. A person suffering from lymphoma may develop mycosis fungoides, a rash that is caused when the blood travels to the upper layer of the skin. It looks similar to eczema.
Other Hodgkin Lymphoma Symptoms
In addition to itchiness triggered by the release of cytokines, individuals with Hodgkin lymphoma may experience the following symptoms:
- Lymph node swelling, particularly in the neck, armpits, stomach or groin
- A low-grade fever accompanied by chills
- Severe night sweats
- Physical, mental or emotional exhaustion
- Unexplained weight loss
- Other issues specific to the location of the lymphoma, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, or a feeling of being full
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Dark Thicker Patches Of Skin: Cancer Or Diabetes
Acanthosis nigricans is when darker, thickened patches of skin develop around the armpit, groin and neck.
It’s not a condition in itself but a sign of an underlying health problem.
The patches will be dry and rough, feeling similar to velvet, and can also be itchy.
Acanthosis nigricans usually develops slowly over time but spreading quickly has be linked to cancer.
A dark patch of velvety skin on the back of your neck, armpit, groin, or elsewhere could mean that you have too much insulin in your blood – a sign of diabetes.
While diabetes itself is not deadly, it has a number of serious complications from heart attacks to amputations, so it is vital to get an early diagnosis.7
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How Is Mycosis Fungoides Treated
Mycosis fungoides treatment depends on the cancer stage and type of skin changes. Many treatment options focus on relieving symptoms and improving your quality of life.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe:
- Skin-directed therapy: Topical gels, steroids, retinoids or ultraviolet light treat cancer on affected areas of your skin. With , an oral agent is combined with UV light to destroy cancer cells on your skin. Your provider may also use a topical chemotherapy, such as mechlorethamine.
- Systemic therapy: Oral drugs such as bexarotene or methotrexate can treat your whole body. Other classes of drugs include Interferon and histone deacetylase inhibitors. Intravenous medications include chemotherapy, such as gemcitabine, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin or pralatrexate.
- Immunotherapy: These drugs boost your immune system to attack cancer cells. Researchers are still learning about how this works.
- Monoclonal antibody as targeted therapy: These medicines detect and destroy cancer cells. Healthcare providers may use targeted therapy if your body has not responded to other systemic therapy, such as mogamulizumab-kpkc and brentuximab vedotin.
- Radiation therapy: With radiation therapy, strong beams of energy from outside your body can destroy cancer cells or stop their growth.
Healthcare providers rarely use traditional chemotherapy for mycosis fungoides. Chemotherapy does not always effectively treat mycosis fungoides. It also carries a significant risk of side effects.
Rashes Linked To Other Cancers
A rash may also be a sign of cancers that develop away from the skin, such as different forms of lymphoma.
Lymphoma is dangerous, as cancer cells circulate throughout the body. These cells may then grow in many organs or tissues at once.
In the sections below, we list some other types of cancer that may cause skin symptoms:
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A Patchy Red Rash That Can Turn Scaly: Lymphoma
Mycosis fungoides is a common rash in patients diagnosed with lymphoma.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system – the network of tissues and organs in our body that work to rid us of toxins.
It can be particularly dangerous because the cancerous cells can travel through the body in the bloodstream.
The cancer cells can then grow in several places at once, affecting multiple parts of the body.
A person with lymphoma may develop mycosis fungoides, a rash that is caused when the blood travels to the upper layer of the skin.
In its early stages it may appear as a patchy red rash but as it progresses it tends to become scaly.
It may be itchy and look similar to eczema.
Skin Rashes And Leukemia: What You Need To Know
Skin is the biggest organ we have. As such, it often acts as a type of window into the rest of the body. So, rashes and other skin disorders can be a sign of something else going on inside of you especially when you have cancer. Thats why its wise to pay attention when you notice one, and get it checked out if it doesnt go away on its own.
Rashes and skin conditions that resemble rashes can be a symptom of some types of cancer. They can also be a side effect of the therapies used to treat cancer, or caused by other factors entirely, such as allergic reactions, shingles , and other infections.
Investigation with your health care team will usually provide a clearer picture as to why youve developed a particular rash or skin condition. But its important to remember that not every disturbance on the skin is a rash. And not every skin rash is related to cancer.
Why the word rash is so hard to define
Skin rashes are notoriously hard to define, as they can involve so many different features: itchiness, redness, bumpiness, roughness, scaliness, swelling, and irritation, to name but a few. But not every rash will share the same characteristics, and appearances can vary widely even between early cases and those that are more advanced.
At MD Andersons Leukemia Center, the skin conditions we see most often in our patients fall into one of three major categories.
The rash thats not really a rash: petechiae
Most skin rashes are unrelated to cancer
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What Is The Outlook For People With Mycosis Fungoides
If you catch mycosis fungoides in its early stages, it is much easier to treat. Many people who receive early diagnosis experience long periods of no symptoms.
More advanced mycosis fungoides may need more invasive treatment. For example, you may need radiation therapy or chemotherapy if cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Mycosis Fungoides
There is no proven way to prevent mycosis fungoides. You can reduce the risks associated with late-stage mycosis fungoides by scheduling regular appointments with a healthcare provider. Having regular checkups can increase the chances of detecting mycosis fungoides in its early stages.
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Further Information About Skin Rash Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
If you present with skin rash pancreatic cancer symptoms due to jaundice, your medical professional will take appropriate action in relation to this. Treatment may include surgically placing a stent to unblock your gall bladder.
If you are suffering from one of the more uncommon forms of skin rash pancreatic cancer symptoms, treatment may include:
- Steroids if your rash is caused by vaccination
- Lotions or creams
There is currently no treatment available for skin rash pancreatic cancer symptoms caused by obstructions.
If you are suffering from skin rash pancreatic cancer symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible to ensure the cause of the skin rash is determined and addressed. If you are not yet due for your next medical check up but do find you have any form of skin rash, please still seek medical advice. Jaundice is one of the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer and although sometimes not leading to any serious consequences, it can mean that the pancreatic tumour has started to block your gall bladder and surgery may be needed in order for gall to once again pass through the tubes. This is generally achieved by surgically placing a stent, but is, unfortunately, only a temporary measure.
Is Cancer Causing The Itching
Itching related to cancer is sometimes identical to itching related to skin conditions or other benign causes, but there are some characteristics that may differ.
Characteristics of cancer-related itching may include:
- Itching in response to water
- The absence of a rash or hives
- The presence of other symptoms such as jaundice , and the B symptoms of lymphoma
In addition, itching associated with cancer tends to feel the worst on the lower legs and chest and may be associated with a burning sensation.
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Reddish Rash On Your Hands Or Back: Any Cancer
Dermatomyositis tends to appear as changes around your nail folds, a reddish rash on the back of your hands, especially around the knuckles, and a shawl-like red rash on your back.
This rash can be associated with any type of cancer.
It can also appear on your face, eyelids, chest, knees and elbows.
Dermatomyositis can also cause muscle weakness and inflamed muscles.
Mycosis Fungoides: A Rash That Can Be Cancer
This unusual blood cancer appears in the skin
When the rash first appeared in 2008, Paul Raffer, MD, thought it was most likely something quite benign. He is a neurologist, not a skin doctor, but he had practiced long enough to know that a rash is a very common symptom in medicine. For several months, he was treated with steroids. The rash would get better, but then it would come back, worse than before.
The rash changed over time, ultimately finding its way to every part of his body. The most troubling symptom, however, was the itching.
“I have never in my life imagined what it would be like to have your whole body constantly itching,” Raffer said. “I stopped being able to sleep. My skin started flaking and peeling. It also started getting very thick plaques, with lesions all over my back, my abdomen and my arms. But the worst part was the itchiness. And there was nothing that worked very well to control it.”
After a consultation with a dermatology specialist who suspected Raffer might be having an allergic reaction to some substance, Raffer went through a series of tests that disproved that theory. Next, he was directed to a dermatopathologist who did a second look at Raffer’s skin and shared the results: mycosis fungoides, sometimes called cutaneous T cell lymphoma of the skin.
Go to Stanford, this physician told Raffer. “See Dr. Youn Kim. If not one of the world’s experts, she is certainly the West Coast guru for what you have.”
What is mycosis fungoides?
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