Itching is usually an uncomfortable feeling that can cause restlessness, anxiety, skin sores, and infection. You might hear your cancer care team refer to itching as pruritus. In cancer patients, itching can be caused by:
Continuous itching can cause your skin to break, bleed, or get an infection especially if the skin is broken. Itching can be a sign of an infection, so be sure to let your doctor know about any new itching you might be experiencing. It is important that you know and communicate to your cancer care team what might make your itching worse or better so you can protect your skin and stay comfortable.
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Abrahm, JL. Skin problems. In A Physician’s Guide to Pain and Symptom Management in Cancer Patients. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press; 2014:474-476
Brant JM, Stringer LH. Skin & nail alterations. In Brown CG, ed. A Guide to Oncology Symptom Management. 2nd ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society; 2015:599-619
Cancer.Net. 2018. Skin conditions. Accessed at https://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/physical-emotional-and-social-effects-cancer/managing-physical-side-effects/skin-conditions on September 18, 2019.
National Cancer Institute (NIH). Pruritus (PDQ® ) - Health Professional Version. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/skin-nail-changes/puritus-hp-pdq on September 18, 2019.
Last Revised: February 1, 2020