What is the incidence of malignancy in patients with herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Jan 25, 2019
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Zoster has been considered a harbinger of other occult disease (eg, malignancies in older patients). Both zoster and malignancy are common in elderly individuals; therefore, most experts currently consider the association to be purely coincidental. There also appears not to be an increased incidence of malignancy in children with herpes zoster. Approximately 3% of pediatric cases occur in children with malignancies. Accordingly, a malignancy workup is not indicated in an otherwise healthy child who has herpes zoster.


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