Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do itchy skin growths indicate cancer?"
What could cause an itchy skin growth OTHER than cancer? I have what looks like a mole on my upper back, and it's been itching like crazy for a while. Is this just normal mole behavior or should I see a doctor?
There are many skin growths that can be itchy and many are not typically associated with cancer. Any new skin growth that has been on your skin for more than a couple weeks should be examined by a skin doctor (a dermatologist), especially if the shape of the lesion is irregular, the size is large, or if the color is dark or different than other moles or skin growths on your body. Examples of itchy skin growths include: eczema (atopic dermatitis), contact dermatitis, hives (urticaria), fungus (tinea also known as ringworm). Warts, seborrheic keratoses, and psoriasis can be itchy too. Skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinomas, basal cell carcinomas or melanomas do not tend to be itchy. Sometimes cutaneous lymphomas (for example mycosis fungoides) can be itchy. Although moles tend to be asymptomatic, they can become irritated and feel itchy. The location of the skin growth as well as the quantity (i.e., the number of skin growths) can also aid in the diagnosis. The bottom line is that many skin growths can be itchy and are not necessarily associated with cancer. Any questionable skin growth should be evaluated by a dermatologist for determination of a diagnosis and treatment plan.
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