Navigation Links
Research led by Temple's chair of dermatology: Pain and itch may be signs of skin cancer

(Philadelphia, PA) Asking patients if a suspicious skin lesion is painful or itchy may help doctors decide whether the spot is likely to be cancerous, according to a new study headed by Gil Yosipovitch, MD, Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Temple University School of Medicine.

The study, published online by JAMA Dermatology on July 23, 2014, found that nearly 36. 9 percent of skin cancer lesions are accompanied by itching, while 28.2 percent involve pain. Non-melanoma skin cancers specifically, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are more likely than melanoma to involve itch or pain, the study found.

"The study highlights the importance of a simple bedside evaluation for the presence and intensity of pain or itch as an easily implementable tool for clinicians in evaluating suspicious skin lesions," concluded the study.

Dr. Yosipovitch, Director of the Temple Itch Center, said the findings are important because skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed in two million people annually in this country.

"Patients sometimes have multiple lesions that are suspicious looking, and those that are itchy or painful should raise high concerns for non-melanoma skin cancers," Dr. Yosipovitch said.

The study involved 268 patients who had 339 laboratory-confirmed skin cancer lesions at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center from July 2010 to March 2011.

After undergoing a skin biopsy, the patients were asked to complete a numerical ranking scale to quantify the intensity of itch and pain associated with their skin lesion. The scale, called a visual analog scale, or VAS, went from zero (no sensation) to 10 (the most intense sensation imaginable).

When the researchers compared the patients' responses to their biopsy results, they found that:

  • The prevalence of itch was greatest in squamous cell carcinoma (46.6 percent), followed by basal cell carcinoma (31.9 percent) and melanoma (14.8 percent).
  • Pain prevalence was greatest in squamous cell carcinoma (42.5 percent), followed by basal cell carcinoma (19.9 percent) and melanoma (3.7 percent).
  • Pain and itch often went hand in hand: 45.6 percent of lesions associated with itch also had pain; and 60 percent of painful lesions also involved itch.
  • The most painful lesions tended to be those with the greatest depth (except for melanoma lesions, which did not correlate with pain). Pain and itch was also associated with lesions that were larger in diameter. Cancers that were ulcerated (sores or open wounds) tended to be associated with pain but not with itch.
  • Pain and/or itch were more likely to be present when the laboratory analysis of the skin lesion sample suggested a marked or moderate degree of inflammation as compared to mild or no inflammation.

Dr. Yosipovitch said he hopes the study findings will prompt dermatologists to incorporate the use of a ranking scale for pain and itch when evaluating patients with suspicious skin lesions.

This could increase the detection of skin lesions that are cancerous," he said.


Contact: Jeremy Walter
Temple University Health System

Related medicine news :

1. Global food safety research agreement signed by China and UC Davis
2. Researchers unlock the protein puzzle
3. Historical and Current Research Points to Importance of Breast Self-Exams
4. China Hemodialysis Equipment Market (Import & Export) Report 2013-2016 Now Available at
5. New Research Finds Pretreatment of Mesothelioma Cells with These Two Compounds Boosts Chemotherapy Response, According to Surviving Mesothelioma
6. University of Utah researcher Robert Marc receives Paul Kayser International Award
7. New research finds pathogenic connection between autoimmune disorders and cancer
8. Research brings us nearer to understanding how neuro cells turn cancerous
9. Global Molecular Diagnostics Market Expected to Reach USD 8.7 Billion through 2019: Transparency Market Research
10. SkillSurvey to Present Research on Contingent Workers at National Association for Health Care Recruitment IMAGE 2014 Conference
11. Growth of Disposable Medical Supplies Market to 2019 Report Available at
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 29, 2015 , ... Effective immediately, ... In addition starting on Black Friday Target is offering a “Buy One Scrub ... This is a rare opportunity to purchase IguanaMed at a discounted price. ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 28, 2015 , ... Trying to ... has created the COUCH BUDDY. "I conceived of this design due to personal experience ... for couch users. It promotes relaxation and convenience, as well as increases support. It ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... conversation at the recent 2015 American Dental Association meeting in Washington D.C. revolved around ... help protect a patient’s overall health. The talk stressed the link between periodontal disease ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of ... ways to treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. ... Hospital Zurich analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The print component of “Supporting ... Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 ... through a vast social media strategy and across a network of top news ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "2016 Future Horizons and ... Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment ... to their offering. --> ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... by Type (Dressings, Therapy Devices, Active Wound Care), Application ... and Geography - Global Forecast to 2020" report ... --> The purpose of this report is ... global advanced wound care market. It involves deep dive ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 ... the addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... offering. --> ... comprehensive analysis of the Italian therapeutic drug monitoring ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: