Can Itchy Skin and Bad Breath Be a Sign of Cancer?

Playing Can Itchy Skin be a Sign of Cancer?

Sometimes seemingly innocuous symptoms, like itching, can be associated with a much more serious condition. The Doctors share the story of a woman who went to the doctor for itching, and as she was leaving with a treatment for eczema, she mentioned she had a weird lump. Yes, that itching was actually a sign of cancer.

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The Doctors are joined by oncologist Dr. Lawrence Piro to further explain. He says entire body itching, not just in one localized spot, that comes out of nowhere can be a sign of cancer. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork points out most itching is just a cause of a local inflammatory reaction, but this reoccurring full-body itching is something important to take note of.

Dr. Piro notes another itch in the rectum can also be a sign of cancer, namely colon, rectal, or anal. While it is more likely to be due to overly-aggressive hygiene and scrubbing, if you’ve got that itch, tell your doctor. Often times people associate it with hemorrhoids and by the time they share their concern, it’s too late. Even when getting a colonoscopy, the doctor may not examine that area. Dr. Piro recommends specifically asking them to do so.

Watch: Find out the New Recommended Age for a Colon Cancer Screening

The last odd cancer signal is bad breath. Dr. Piro has a personal connection to this; his father died of stomach cancer at the age of 61 and the first manifestation of the cancer was his bad breath. The stomach cancer was not diagnosed early enough and by the time Dr. Piro got involved and diagnosed his father with incurable stomach cancer, he only had one more month to live.

It is common for stomach cancer to go undetected for too long because the early symptoms are confused with more common things. If bad breath occurs suddenly, there are tests that can actually analyze the molecules to detect for cancer. Another stomach cancer sign is early satiety, where you fill up quickly from eating. 

Dr. Piro advises viewers to be persistent with their health. You know your body and how it regularly feels and if common symptoms persist and come out of nowhere, that is when you need to pay attention.  Go for your routine physicals, skin checks, and if you have unusual symptoms, tell your doctor!