ZocdocAnswersAre red dots a sign of cancer?

Question

Are red dots a sign of cancer?

I am a 28 year old male and I have these rough red dots on my upper thigh and buttocks. What are they? They don't itch or anything, but they do feel rough.

Answer

Rough red dots on your skin can be caused by many different conditions. While many skin rashes can be a sign of a larger disease, it is extremely rare for something like this to be caused by cancer, especially in people your age. Thus, cancer is not the first thing that should be considered. At first, red dots make me think of a skin finding called petechiae. Petechiae are small (usually 1 to 2 mm) red dots that can be rough. They are usually caused by a problem with your platelets. Platelets are small particles in your blood that are important for forming blood clots. If your platelet level is too low, then small blood vessel breaks can cause small bruises that show up as these red bumps. It is also very possible that these red bumps are just a simple skin rash because of something that you were exposed to. You could have a viral infection, or an allergic reaction. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your rash carefully and determine if it represents anything abnormal such as a problem with your platelets. Your doctor may choose to refer you to a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.