From Our 2010 Archives
Sweat Gland Cancers Rare but on the Rise
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Study Shows Sweat Gland Cancers Have Increased 170% Since 1978
Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD
June 21, 2010 -- Tumors of skin appendages, such as cancer of the sweat glands, hair follicle, or sebaceous gland, although rare, appear to be increasing in the U.S., a new study shows.
Cutaneous appendageal carcinomas, or skin appendage cancers, are rare and "frequently present a diagnostic challenge," the study researchers write in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology.
Cancers of the sweat glands and other skin-related structures increased dramatically between 1978 and 2005, the researchers say.
The incidence rate of sweat gland cancers has increased 170% since 1978; the rate of all skin appendage cancers has increased 150%. A total of 1,801 patients were identified for incidence analysis, 2,228 for trend analysis, and 1,984 for survival analysis, according to the study, which obtained data from 16 cancer registries in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program for the 1978-2005 period.
Men were more likely than women to develop one of the cancers, with an incidence rate of 5.1 cases per 1 million people annually.
Among the study's findings:
The researchers write that the increased incidence rates may be the result of improved recognition and classification of disease. But factors such as exposure to ultraviolet light and immunosuppression also may play a role, the researchers report. They say UV radiation may be a contributing factor, possibly explaining why rates are lower among people with more skin pigmentation.
SOURCES: News release, National Cancer Institute.
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