Date: 11/03/2022

Ichthyosis Skin Before and After Cancer

Genetic abnormalities often cause ichthyosis. But other underlying diseases like cancer, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) that can sometimes lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), and thyroid disease can also cause this skin condition.

In cases where the individual acquires ichthyosis due to cancer, diseases include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Hodgkin’s disease (cancer affecting the lymphatic system that’s part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system)
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer in which abnormal white blood cells form tumors)
  • Ovarian cancer

Before you undergo cancer treatment, a doctor diagnoses ichthyosis based on how your skin looks. The doctor can also require you to take a biopsy (a skin or tissue sample), so they can view it under a microscope for any characteristic changes indicative of the disease.

Biopsies help doctors rule out other conditions like dermatitis (skin irritation) or eczema (inflamed, itchy, and dry skin). In most cases, the surgeon performing the biopsy will take a tissue sample where scales and skin are the thickest, such as the shins and elbows.

If the doctor determines that the condition is acquired ichthyosis, you’ll likely be examined for the presence of an underlying disorder.

One study evaluated the characteristics and management of keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness (KID) syndrome to help scientists find ways to reduce the incidence of skin cancer associated with this disease.

The authors noted that one essential issue to help manage KID syndrome is an early diagnosis of infections and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC).

Specifically, the researchers recommend lifelong follow-up to ensure early diagnosis of malignant tumors. The researchers also suggested the intake of systemic retinoids to help reduce hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin’s outer layer) and skin cancer incidence.

Rare Types of Cancers You Need to Know

Ichthyosis is a skin condition often associated with diseases like HIV/AIDS, thyroid disease, or rare cancers like mesothelioma.

The Mesothelioma Group is a helpful resource for individuals who want to learn about the different stages of mesothelioma and the various treatments to help alleviate the symptoms of this disease.Because acquired ichthyosis can be attributed to cancer, researchers must consider the potential of rare cancers to be connected to ichthyosis. These rare forms of cancer worth looking into include:

  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma: This disease is a rare cancer type that starts in the lungs, breast, or salivary glands.
  • Castleman disease: This condition, also called giant lymph node or angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia, is a condition in which an overgrowth of cells in the lymph nodes occurs.
  • Choroid plexus tumor: This rare tumor occurs in the brain and spinal cord and often happens among children.
  • Mesothelioma: This disease develops in the thin tissue layer covering most of your internal organs, especially in the lining of the lungs.
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma: Also called carcinosarcoma, this cancer type can occur in the lungs and other body parts.
  • Urachal cancer: This condition is a rare form of bladder cancer.
  • Verrucous carcinoma: This disease usually appears in the mouth but can also start on other body parts like the vulva and penis.

If you or someone you know has ichthyosis vulgaris, talk to a family doctor or dermatologist. These medical professionals can diagnose the condition by analyzing the characteristic scales on the skin.

If symptoms worsen or don’t improve through self-care remedies, seek medical advice immediately. The doctor can prescribe stronger medication to help manage the symptoms.


  1. Ichthyosis Vulgaris: Symptoms & Causes

  1. Hereditary And Acquired Ichthyosis Vulgaris

  1. Skin Cancer Associated Genodermatoses: A Literature Review

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