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All TopicsForum: IDC (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) → Topic: Itching & Cancer

Topic: Itching & Cancer

Forum: IDC (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) — Just diagnosed, in treatment, or finished treatment for IDC.

Posted on: Jul 6, 2009 09:54AM, edited Jul 6, 2009 09:55AM by Sydney6

Sydney6 wrote:

Has anyone out there experienced systemic itching before being diagnosed with breast cancer?  In February 2008 my eyes started itching intensly.  I just figured it was allergies.  It then progressed to my face and by November 2008 it was all over my body and driving me crazy.  I went to 2 dermatologists, an allergist, my regular doctor and an eye doctor.  All I got from them were prescriptions that didn't solve my problem.  I was told I had eczema.  I knew there was something else wrong with me, but no one would listen.  After I was diagnosed I asked the dermatologist if it could be caused by the cancer and he said yes, that it can throw your whole immune system off.  I was furious my problem had not been taken more serious originally.  Since surgery & radiation the problem has cleared up everywhere except my face, neck & hands.  I am curious if anyone else has experienced anything like this?

Sue 

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Jul 6, 2009 11:24AM Sassa wrote:

I was having a problem with itching on my ankles and lower legs before my diagnosis. 

At some point after my mastectomy and while going through chemo, I realized that I no longer itched but I never connected it with the BC.  It wasn't until I came across articles about BC that talked about itching (ankles were specifically mentioned) that I realized that my itchy legs may have been due to BC.

Sorry, I don't remember where I found the article online.

Dx 11/6/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 6, 2009 12:14PM baywatcher wrote:

I had crazy itching and red bloches over most of my body in January and was given creams and such. Nothing worked until I got a cortosone shot. They said it was eczema. I was diagnosed with cancer in Sept. I always wondered if it was connected.

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Jul 6, 2009 12:50PM Sydney6 wrote:

Thanks for responding ladies.  Now did any of you have lymphovascular involvement with your cancer?  I'm on the Tamox, but I didn't do chemo due to a low Oncotype score.  I'm hoping at some point the itching on my face & neck goes away, but I'm worried the cancer is still in my system and causing this.  I've only been on the Tamox for 2 months so I'm thinking maybe after it's in my system for awhile it will improve.

Dx 11/20/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 01:11PM Desi_NJ wrote:

I had itching and red rashes on my neck area since Jan 2008. I was diagnosed with BC in March 2008; after surgery and chemo my rashes/itching disappeared!  I had lymphovascular involvement with 5 positive lymph nodes.

I thought I was an isolated case! The doctors gave me benedryl cream, antihistamines, etc - nothing worked till after my treatment was done. So it is related - BC and itching. I have had very sensitive skin.

It will be interesting to see more responses on this topic - unless we are a minority.

Dx 3/24/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 5/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 4/19/2013, IDC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 01:15PM navygirl wrote:

I also had issues with itching! Both of my breasts, my armpits and occassionally my face itched like CRAZY. All of it stopped immediately following my surgery/chemo until a recent issue with my DIEP breast...I suspect this is a nerve ending issue because I had reconstruction. It's very weird how they body can get thrown off balance.

life is short, play hard

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Jul 6, 2009 01:42PM Marple wrote:

My affected breast itched.  And it was an itch that I could not stop.  Coincidence perhaps, but I did have an itch.

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Jul 6, 2009 04:01PM Sydney6 wrote:

ljh58 - I realize there are plenty of reasons for itching and I have had allergies for most of my life, but the intensness of this itching was unbelievable.  I was living on Benedryl, had been put on prednisone 2 times and had even taken the immune suppresent drug cyclosporine(which was supposed to be a miracle cure) for a month and nothing helped.  I counldn't stay on that because that's when I found out I had cancer.  The prednisone cleared it up, but towards the end of the prescription it would come back.  If I was asked about a new laundry detergent one more time I was going to scream!  I kept telling the doctors that I felt like my body was trying to tell me something and they didn't want me to listen.  I got allergy tested and only ate foods I knew I wasn't allergic to, but still the itching continued.  I did not for one minute believe it was my body chemistry changing - as one dermatologist suggested -and that this could just happen, so I started getting everything checked out.  I was about 6 months late for my mammo, so I went and had that done and found out I had breast cancer.  As I mentioned this itching started in Feb. 2008 and it is now July 2009 although it has gone from all over to just my neck, face & hands now.

Desi_NJ - Thank you!  I have tried researching this and have gotten no where.  I know itching can be related to problems with your liver, but I've had that checked out.  It is a relief to hear from someone who has experienced the neck itching thing. 

Sue

Dx 11/20/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 04:25PM Sydney6 wrote:

Leslie - Nothing to forgive!  I just couldn't believe all these doctors saw me and the extent of the problem (literally had skin peeling from my eyelids and scabs on my scalp!) and no one thought it was anything other than eczema.  After doing the 5 day treatment prescribed by one dermatologist and going back after a week for a follow-up and telling him it worked during the 5 days but then it came right back his response was, "You have atopic dermatitis what do you want me to tell you."  I was at my breaking point.  I told him I was 45 years old and if he thought this was normal and I was going live the rest of my life like this he was crazy!  I am just trying to make sense of the insanity which is why I asked the question to see if anyone else had experienced this.  As I said I tried researching it and found nothing relating to breast cancer.  If I had just listened to the dermatologists instead of my own body I'd probably be in a mental institution dying of breast cancer!

Sue

Dx 11/20/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 04:37PM Jayne_in_UK wrote:

I have always had sensitive skin that can break out in itchy rashes if I use a new detergent or shower gel. I had itchy ankles and lower legs before being diagnosed with bc. I assumed it was an allergy to something and tried various creams with little success, when I stopped using the cream it came back. I have never found doctors to be particularly helpful with skin rashes etc. I noticed that after my surgery the itching almost disappeared. I have had my first chemo session and it seems to be completely gone now. Looking back I do think that my itchy legs and ankles were related to my bc, although I have had other itching in the past that I don't think was anything to do with it.

Recurrence: Jan 2012

Dx 4/9/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 4/13 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 04:39PM vision4utoo wrote:

Ugh!  I am itching again...but now that you have mentioned, I had complained to doc about itching breast, nip and sharp shooting pain through nip...

Dx 6/19/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 04:51PM fairy49 wrote:

just a thought, I read that one of the symptoms of menopause is itchy skin, due to lack of estrogen, so skin becomes drier and itchier.

DX 9-22-08 IDC 1.1cm Stage 1 Grade 2 SNB 0/5 ER+ PR+ HER- Bi-Lat Mas re-con,tissue expanders on 10/29 - Exchange to silicone implants on 3/6/09 Oncotype DX Score 9 - BRCA 1 & 2 Negative.....If God brings you to it, he WILL get you through it

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Jul 6, 2009 05:06PM vision4utoo wrote:

With the ChemoPause - that could be it!  The hot flashes and night sweats still haven't subsided - ended chemo in Oct..  I was told that would lessen...no one mention the time it would take though.

Dx 6/19/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 05:07PM vision4utoo wrote:

Fairy49 - I lived in Seal Beach and Bellmont shore for 10 yrs.  Miss it out there!

Dx 6/19/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 05:26PM fairy49 wrote:

Hi Vision! LOVE LOVE LOVE Seal Beach and Belmont Shores, just awesome! I live downtown Huntington Beach, I don't think I could live anywhere else at this point, its lovely! and good for my serenity! Being a wedding planner I need all the serenity I can get! Surprised I am taking supplements to try and balance my hormones naturally, and since starting them my itchy skin has gone!! Lots of Omega 3 with EPA works great!

L

ox

DX 9-22-08 IDC 1.1cm Stage 1 Grade 2 SNB 0/5 ER+ PR+ HER- Bi-Lat Mas re-con,tissue expanders on 10/29 - Exchange to silicone implants on 3/6/09 Oncotype DX Score 9 - BRCA 1 & 2 Negative.....If God brings you to it, he WILL get you through it

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Jul 6, 2009 05:50PM Sydney6 wrote:

fairy49 - This itchy skin is not related to menopause.  I just turned 46 and have no signs of menopause.  In the year and half I've been dealing with this I tried Omega 3.  No noticable difference.  Once my surgery was over I started going for UVB treatments at the dermatologist.  Since radiation finished and I started taking the Tamox my skin is good all over except the neck, face & hands and as I've said it's not like any dry skin I've ever experienced.  I would think if it had to do with menopause it would be worse on the Tamox.

Sue

Dx 11/20/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2009 05:57PM fairy49 wrote:

my bad, just sharing my experience in the hopes that it might help.

DX 9-22-08 IDC 1.1cm Stage 1 Grade 2 SNB 0/5 ER+ PR+ HER- Bi-Lat Mas re-con,tissue expanders on 10/29 - Exchange to silicone implants on 3/6/09 Oncotype DX Score 9 - BRCA 1 & 2 Negative.....If God brings you to it, he WILL get you through it

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Jul 7, 2009 01:28AM smallworld123 wrote:

Girls, I enjoy your post very much. I'm much older than you all, but I never itch, but my breast broke out in little pimples, and underneath they would, if not treated turn into a yeast infection. I tried everything to stop the pimples for getting bigger, and when they did I had to get an antibotic to get well. I finally, have some hope now when it happens, you just spray Lotiumn, its for jock itch, and my pimples clear up, its a powder spray.. No thanks to the doctors. Could this be from Breast  cancer?  I had a MX, and I still get pimples on the other breast. Anyone out there with this problem?

Dx 3/27/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, HER2-
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Jul 7, 2009 02:23AM linda5508 wrote:

I remember my mom who was diagnosed with cancer also had pretty bad itching around her ankles. another one of my relatives who had jock itch was diagnosed with cancer a year later.(although i'm pretty sure jock itch had nothing to do with it)
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Jul 7, 2009 02:27PM vision4utoo wrote:

HI all! 

 Fairy49:  Serenity is everything!  I like your "if god brought you to it, he'll get you through it!"  I miss the coast - Have many friend in HB, LB, SB...

I do the Omega's, Source of Life, and xtra calcium (as I cracked my ribs by pushing down on a hole punch during Chemo treatments).  Emergence - C as well for electrolytes and VC replacement.

 The itch...again I did notice and complain to doc's prior to dx last June, but all I can recall is that it was located in breast and nip area.

Be well!

Dx 6/19/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 7, 2009 03:34PM Sandygirl wrote:

About a year before being diagnosed, I had such terrible itching on both of my ankles and top of my feet.  Went to the dermatologist and of course he said it was eczema.  Tried treating it with cortisone cream it helped a little wasn't completely cured until after chemo.  Would have loved to find bc a year earlier maybe wouldn't have spread to the nodes.  When I see the dermatologist again I will ask him if he has heard about this correlation. 

Sandygirl

Dx 8/25/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 2/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 10, 2009 12:32AM, edited Jul 10, 2009 12:34AM by KEW

I had itchy shins, and had been to see my PCP for it before I was diagnosed.  It had been bothering me for a couple of years.  I saw him in March (2008) and he told me it was something, but he didn't know what and told me to take Zyrtec.  I didn't.  I was diagnosed in Oct. Mx in November, no more itching, I was premenopausal when diagnosed, and I had a hyster/ooph in May, so now post, my skin is fine, not dry, still no itching.  No chemo, staying on Tamoxifen even after ooph. I really wonder after reading what everyone else has experienced if it was the cancer.  I would scratch until I bled sometimes.  Not once since November.

Good thread.

Karen

http://rfcp.convio.net/site/TR?team_id=42052&fr_id=1110&pg=team

Age DX: 48. Dx Oct 2008, IDC, 2.6cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes,100%ER+/Pr+, HER2-, Oncotype Score 15. BLM with reconstruction Nov 2008.

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Jul 10, 2009 01:47PM nelia48 wrote:

So. . . . now itching can be added to the list of symptoms??????  There were times I itched so badly that I drew blood.  My itches felt like pin pricks, deeper than a normal itch!

I, too, am older, and thought it was just a thing that went with hot flashes, menopause, etc.  And I got the pimply thing under my boobs that would turn into yeast infections. 

Visit my blog at www.hiddenrichessecretplaces.b... Diagnosos: IDC - T4, N2, ER+, PR+, Grade 2, 5/15 lymph nodes, diagnosed 7/2008 Stage IIIb

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Jul 11, 2009 07:48PM lottie wrote:

I was diagnosed with IDC last week. The tumor is in my right breast, right behind my nipple. I am having a mastectomy in 2 weeks. The nipple on my right breast itched so badly it drove me bonkers! The itch lasted about a year and then faded. The symptoms that caught my attention were a sharp, shooting pain down the side of my breast and a flat nipple -- both of these started in May. I'm certain that the itchy nipple was an early sign. My right palm also itches like crazy, and still does today.

unilateral mastectomy, July 2009, finished TC x6, January 2010

Dx 7/2/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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May 11, 2010 06:26PM Sydney6 wrote:

I haven't posted to this thread in quite awhile, but I wanted to tell all you lovely ladies out here that I have been seeing a dermatologist at St. Luke's Roosevelt in Manhatten (my 5th!) since January and I believe my prayers have been answered.  After two full years of CONSTANT itching I am well on my way to living my life again.  I was tested for over 100 different things and found to have an allergy to 5 different chemicals that are in everything from shampoo to dental floss.  I was never allergic to these things before, but my last dermatologist felt the cancer had thrown my immune system out of whack.  This new guy is fantastic.  The itching is pretty much gone (which is a good thing because I wasn't sure how much more I could take) and I am sleeping again.  My skin is not quite back to normal, but as he said it did take 2 years to get to that point so it is going to take some time.  I just wanted to say that when you feel something is not quite right and it seems the doctors you are seeing are only treating your symptoms and not looking for a cause or not listening to you, and you feel there is something wrong, don't give up.  Don't be afraid to see another doctor if you are not getting the help you deserve.  You are worth it.  Love you all!

Sue   

Dx 11/20/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 21, 2010 08:41PM, edited Jul 1, 2010 09:08AM by stphns_m

This Post was deleted by stphns_m.
Dx 12/2008, IDC, 6cm+, 3/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 22, 2010 07:26PM soulswithin wrote:

May be an immune system thing, Overresponding to the foreign cancer cells, who knows?

Skin allergies and a screwed up immune system go hand in hand. Both of my melanomas itched, in fact the itching brought me to the doctor! And would you believe both times the doc siad it wasn't cancer, and both times they were wrong. Go with your gut instincts!

http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/is_itching_a_risk_factor_for_cancer/

Linda, in the survival mode....You can see it in a wild cats eyes

Dx 2/12/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 1, 2010 11:52AM in_cognito wrote:

Now that I think about it I did have localized itching - a lot!  I was pregnant when I noticed my right boob just itched like crazy - and it still itched after birth.  I thought it was due to the skin stretching from 40 pounds of weight gain during pregnancy as well as the milk coming in.  And the itching was only on the cancerous side. 

Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 2/19/2014, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 07/26/2010 Cytoxan, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 10/01/2010 TamoxifenSurgery 11/19/2010 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left)Chemotherapy 03/07/2014 Xeloda
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Jun 1, 2010 11:57AM smithlme wrote:

My left arm pit itched for months before my first diagnosis. It was a deep, unscratch-able itch that drove me crazy. After my mastectomy and 9 nodes removed, no more itch.

Linda

Dx 3/31/08, DCIS, ER+/PR- BRCA2+...I am NOT a survivor...I am a 2X breast cancer A$$ kicker!

Dx 3/28/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 13, 2010 06:05AM, edited Jun 13, 2010 03:02PM by judyqueen20

hi linda, surely, all itching cant mean you have cancer? I was diagnosed nearly 4 years december, have regular mamograms and checkups and am well, at least i think i am. I have a regular itch in my hairline, and sometimes it drives me crazy especially at night when i have a hot flush or when i drink alcohol. Do you think i have a cancer lurking somewhere? Interested to hear your reply and others. Take care.x judiqueen20

Dx 12/5/2006, IDC, 5cm, Grade 2, 5/10 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Jun 16, 2010 07:41PM, edited Jun 16, 2010 07:45PM by Sydney6

judyqueen20 - There are a lot of reasons for itching that are not an indication of something serious, but itching can also indicate something more serious.  When I originally asked the question about itching and cancer it was because of how extreme the itch was and I was looking for answers.  I've had mild eczema all my life on my hands and this was different.  The itch was unbelievable, and none of the conventional medications helped at all.  I just think everything in the body is connected and doctors need to recognize that.  What's interesting is that the testing the doctor I am currently seeing did revealed I was allergic to carba mix and thiriums.  These are found in latex.  I have had the eczema on my hands for years and everyone I saw said to make sure I wore the rubber gloves for cleaning and such.  It turns out those rubber gloves were contributing to the eczema.  Since I have been using vinyl gloves I no longer have the hand eczema.  I definitely believe our bodies try to tell us things.  From the time I was a kid not one dermatologist I went to bothered to try and find out why I had eczema, which is what I'm saying about this intense itch.  I kept saying there had to be a reason for it.  I had been under the care of the dermatologist who finally sent me to St. Luke's for over a year before he mentioned this guy might be able to help me.  And believe me, it was a year of pure hell!  In my case I knew something was wrong.  Wishing you all the best. 

Sue

Dx 11/20/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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