A WOMAN was diagnosed with cancer after developing a bizarre rash.
The unnamed 73-year-old noticed the “tie-dye” like rash engulfing her body over a period of nearly a year, before seeking medical help.
A woman was diagnosed with stage 2 anal cancer after doctors in Kansas City discovered a rash engulfing her body was a rare warning sign
The red swirls covered her back, thighs, buttock, tummy and armpits.
The woman eventually went to a dermatology clinic at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.Antihistamines didn’t work
Dr Megan Prouty, one of the medics treating the woman, said the patient had tried taking antihistamines – but with no luck.
Dr Prouty said the rash began as red swirls and circular patches.
Over a four-month period the rash then developed into scaly plaques or lesions.
In that time the woman began to complain of “abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea”, Dr Prouty said in a case report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Tests diagnosed anal cancer
Medics performed a colonoscopy on the patient, inserting a camera into her intestines.
As a result they diagnosed her with stage 2 anal cancer.
Before the patient was given chemo and radiation to treat her cancer, dermatologists examined her to try and treat the rash.
Dr Prouty said: “The patient was referred to the dermatology clinic for assessment of the persistent, evolving rash.
“She received a clinical diagnosis of erythema gyrateum repens, a rare rash usually associated with breast cancer, lung or oesophageal cancer.”
After three months of treatment, the woman’s rash disappeared.
Eight months after she went into hospital, doctors said her cancer “remained in remission”, and the rash hadn’t returned.
Rash can be warning sign of cancer
While rare, a rash can be a sign of cancer – as this woman’s case highlights.
Dr Walayay Hussain, a spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists, told the Sun Online in most cases a rash is something far less sinister – reassuring people not to worry.
“This is a tricky subject to discuss without alarming people,” he said.
“The skin is like the window to the body if you like, so sometimes that can be a sign that something is going on inside the body.
“If you get a blistering rash affecting the inside of your mouth as well as your hands and feet – and it’s quite severe – then sometimes that can be a sign of what we call a paraneoplastic rash.
“That basically means it is associated with some form of cancer elsewhere in the body.”
As in the woman’s case reported, if you treat the cancer the rash disappears, Dr Hussain told Sun Online.
He added: “The most common type of cancer that causes rashes and presents with symptoms that dermatologists are used to seeing are blood cancers.
“People who have leukaemia or lymphoma often present with specific things on the skin that dermatologists are trained to recognise.”
What are the signs of anal cancer?
Anal cancer is a rare form of the disease, that affects the very end of the bowel.
Around 1,300 people are diagnosed wit the cancer in the UK every year.
Signs you could be suffering the disease include:
bleeding from the bottom
itching and pain around the anus
small lumps around the anus
discharge of mucus from the anus
loss of bowel control
If you have any of these signs, it’s worth seeing your GP to get the checked out.
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Last year, we shared the story of mum-of-four Tracey O’Keefe who appeared on Lorraine claiming Sun Online columnist Deborah James “saved her life”.
Tracey heard Deborah discussing her experience of living with stage 4 bowel cancer – and as a result realised she was suffering similar symptoms.
After going to see her doctor, a 4cm tumour was found and she was diagnosed with anal cancer.
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