Pruritus, Noncancerous Tumors More Common in the Geriatric Population

Pruritus and noncancerous tumors are among the most common dermatologic findings in the geriatric population, according to study data published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology.

The geriatric population often presents with unique dermatologic conditions not often seen in other age groups. Because of this, the researchers of the study performed a comparative study of dermatologic diseases in patients older than 65 years in relation to younger patients.

In total, 8422 patients of all ages from primary care municipal programs in Greece from May 2015 to December 2017 were examined, and diagnoses were recorded. The patients were divided into 2 age groups: 3629 patients older than 65 years and 4793 patients who were younger than 65 years.

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The study found that the 5 most common dermatologic issues in the geriatric population were pruritus (14.2%), various forms of eczema (12.4%), seborrheic keratoses (6.8%), hair loss (6.2%), and onychomycosis (4.9%). Specifically, the main dermatologic complaint in the elderly, pruritus (14.2%), was found to be a dermatologic complaint in 1% of the younger age group, whose primary cause for seeking dermatologic care was mole examination (15.1%). Moreover, precancerous lesions (4%) and skin cancers (2.4%) were more common in elderly patients than in those patients younger than 65 years of age (0.7% and 0.5%, respectively).

The authors wrote that their findings demonstrated significant differences in the frequency and etiology of certain diseases in the elderly population vs younger populations. As the study found a “large number of patients with precancerous and cancerous skin lesions, systematic and regular screening for skin cancer is recommended, especially in the elderly,” they wrote.


Papadopoulos I. Comparative study of dermatological diseases of the elderly in relation to the rest population. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:173-178.