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Research Letter
Dec 2012

Itch and Pain in Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Pain as an Important Feature of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Pathology (Dr Mills), Dermatology (Mr Kwatra, Ms Feneran, and Drs Pearce, Williford, and Yosipovitch), Biostatistical Sciences (Dr D’Agostino), and Neurobiology and Anatomy (Dr Yosipovitch) and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest School of Medicine (Drs D’Agostino and Yosipovitch), Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(12):1422-1423. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2012.3104

Pain is a common feature of cancer with an estimated prevalence rate between 52% and 77%.1 Itch is the most common dermatologic symptom and is also a common feature of lymphoma.2 However, no studies have been performed examining the prevalence rates of pain and itch in common skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are the 2 most common types of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC). They have a rapidly increasing incidence in the United States, with nearly 4 million new cases of NMSC diagnosed each year.3 The purpose of the present study was to assess the prevalence and intensity of pain and itch among the 2 most common skin cancers.