Exploring Psoriasis And Skin Cancer

Exploring Psoriasis And Skin Cancer
20 Aug 2023
10 mins
Table Of Content
Exploring Psoriasis And Skin Cancer

    People of all ages can develop psoriasis and skin cancer. It is the two prevalent skin disorders. Even though they are different diseases, some evidence suggests that people with psoriasis may be more likely to get skin cancer. Today's blog will discuss about the relationship between psoriasis and skin cancer. We will explore the different symptoms of skin cancer associated with psoriasis. Additionally, this blog will evaluate the causes and insightful information on how people with psoriasis can reduce their risk of developing skin cancer. 

    What Is Psoriasis And Skin Cancer? 


    Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that accelerates the skin cell life cycle, leading to a rapid build-up of skin cells on the surface of the skin. The build-up of these cells is called plaques, and they form thick, reddish-brown, and sometimes scaly patches on the skin’s surface. Plaque psoriasis can be painful and affect a person’s quality of life in many ways. It’s most likely caused by a genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors such as infection, trauma, stress, and medications. The most common presentation is itchy, scaly pink plaques on your elbows, knees, and scalp.


    Skin Cancer

    Skin cancer is a type of skin cancer that occurs when abnormal growths of skin cells occur. These abnormal growths are often caused by DNA damage due to excessive exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation. Skin cancers can appear as abnormal growths, non-cancerous sores, or changes to existing moles. There are three main types of skin cancer. They are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. 


    Link Between Psoriasis And Skin Cancer

     While there’s no definitive proof that psoriasis causes skin cancer, some studies suggest a connection. Some studies suggest that people who have psoriasis may be slightly more likely to develop skin cancer than those who don’t. It’s thought that the reason for this is because psoriasis causes skin damage, making it more susceptible to changes that can lead to cancer.  It’s unclear whether the increased risk of cancer is caused by the disease itself or by common treatments for psoriasis, such as immunosuppressive medications and ultraviolet (UV) treatments. According to a 2020 review, some common treatments may increase the risk of skin cancer in nonmelanocompetents. These treatments include Psoralen PUVA therapy and Ciclosporin, TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor) inhibitors. Or, the disease’s chronic inflammatory mechanisms may cause increased cancer risk.

    Symptoms Of Skin Cancer Associated With Psoriasis


    While skin cancer and psoriasis are distinct conditions, individuals with psoriasis may face an increased risk of certain types of skin cancer due to chronic skin inflammation and other factors. Common symptoms of skin cancer associated with psoriasis can include


    • Changes in moles or lesions: Keep an eye on existing moles or lesions, as well as any new ones that appear. Look for changes in color, shape, size, or texture
    • Unusual growth or sores: Be cautious of any growths that appear pearly, translucent, or have a waxy texture. Non-healing sores or ulcers could also be concerning.
    • Red, scaly patches: If you notice red, scaly patches that don't respond to usual psoriasis treatments, it's worth discussing with a healthcare professional.
    • Bleeding or itching: Skin cancer lesions may bleed, ooze, or become tender. Persistent itching, burning, or discomfort could also be a sign.
    • Change in skin sensation: Any change in how an area of skin feels – such as becoming more sensitive or painful – should be evaluated.
    • Spread of psoriasis lesions: If psoriasis lesions suddenly change or spread rapidly, it's wise to consult a doctor to rule out any skin cancer possibility.


    It's important to note that not all skin changes are indicative of skin cancer. However, if you have psoriasis and experience unusual or persistent skin symptoms, seeking medical attention for proper evaluation and peace of mind is recommended. Regular skin screenings are essential for early detection and management.


    Difference Between Psoriasis And Skin Cancer


    • Psoriasis can affect any part of the body, but it typically covers large areas.
    • Skin cancer is smaller and develops when your skin is exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time.


    • Psoriasis goes through several stages, including an outbreak followed by a recession.
    • The stage of skin cancer will vary from person to person, and symptoms may worsen without treatment.


    • Psoriasis is not cancerous and is not caused by abnormal cell growth.
    • Skin cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of malignant cells and can be cancerous.


    • Common symptoms of psoriasis include red patches covered with silver scales, itching, and sometimes joint pain.
    • Symptoms of skin cancer vary depending on the type but may include changes in moles, new growths, or non-healing sores.


    • Psoriasis is not directly linked to an increased risk of skin cancer.
    • Prolonged sun exposure and other risk factors increase skin cancer risk.


    • Risk factors of psoriasis are family history of psoriasis, fair skin, a history of sunburns, exposure to radiation, and certain medications.
    • Risk factors of skin cancer are sun exposure, family history of skin cancer, fair skin, a history of sunburns, and certain medications.


    Tips To Reduce Risk Of Skin Cancer In Psoriasis


    1. Regular skin check-ups with your doctor are essential for early detection of skin changes and abnormalities, including the potential for skin cancer. 


    2. Reduce your exposure to the sun, especially during the peak hours of the day. Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeve, and sunglasses, and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily, including cloudy days. 


    3. Avoid tanning beds or sunlamps as they emit UV radiation that damages the skin and increases the risk of cancer. 


    4. Manage your psoriasis by talking to your healthcare professional about the medications and treatments you are taking to control your symptoms and keep your skin healthy.  


    5. Medication awareness on the medicine you are taking for psoriasis that may increase your risk for skin cancer; talk to your healthcare provider about the potential risks. Some medications used to treat psoriasis may increase the risk of skin cancer. So, it is important to understand and manage this risk. 


    6. Be aware of any changes in the skin. Prompt medical attention should be given if new skin growths, changes in the shape or size of moles, sores that do not heal, or any unusual skin changes are observed. Early treatment can result in improved results.



    Psoriasis treatments can vary based on your severity and type of psoriasis. Mild cases may be managed with topical treatments like creams and ointments applied directly to the affected skin. These can help reduce inflammation and slow down skin cell growth.

    "Prevention Is Better Than Cure."

    Spreading awareness about psoriasis and understanding the possible connection between psoriasis and skin cancer is really important for keeping your skin and overall health in check. Even though there's no definite link, studies show that having psoriasis could make you more prone to skin cancer because of potential skin damage. By learning about the signs, reasons, and ways to stay safe mentioned in this blog, you can proactively catch any issues early and deal with them effectively. If you’re diagnosed as a psoriasis patient, you must keep up with your regular skin checkups, stay safe in the sun, and work closely with your healthcare provider to address any concerns. Whether dealing with psoriasis or skin cancer, it's important to prioritize skin health and seek appropriate medical care.


    Written by
    Aswini Priya VelmuruganMasters in Biotechnology
    AboutMedical Content Writer
    Tags :Psoriasis and skin cancer Psoriasis or skin cancer Types of skin cancer Difference between psoriasis and skin cancer Psoriasis awareness