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Eccrine porocarcinoma

ECCRINE POROCARCINOMA

What are the aims of this leaflet?

This information leaflet has been produced to help you understand more about eccrine porocarcinoma. It tells you about what it is, how it is diagnosed, what causes it, what can be done, and where you can find out more about it.

What is eccrine porocarcinoma?

Eccrine porocarcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer involving the sweat glands. Sweat glands are present in the skin, with the highest density on the palms, soles, face and scalp.

Eccrine porocarcinoma is typically a slow-growing tumour which is often seen in those who are over 60 and occurs equally in men and women. Eccrine porocarcinoma can, rarely, spread to internal organs in the body.

What causes eccrine porocarcinoma?

The cause is unknown.  

Unlike some other skin cancers, it is not related to sun exposure.

Is eccrine porocarcinoma hereditary?

No. There is currently no evidence to suggest this.

What are the symptoms of eccrine porocarcinoma?

Eccrine porocarcinoma often does not cause symptoms; however bleeding, itching or soreness can sometimes occur.

What does eccrine porocarcinoma look like?

It usually appears as a pink, protruding, nodule or lump of the skin that has a moist and shiny surface.

Eccrine porocarcinoma most commonly occurs on the legs, but may also occur on the body, head and neck.
How is eccrine porocarcinoma diagnosed?

Eccrine porocarcinoma is a rare cancer and so can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis is usually made with a skin biopsy of the affected area where a small sample of tissue is taken so that it can be examined under a microscope. The pathologist who examines this sample will look for the characteristic features of eccrine porocarcinoma.

Can eccrine porocarcinoma be cured?

The cure rate is 70-80% if the eccrine porocarcinoma is diagnosed early and surgically removed.

How can eccrine porocarcinoma be treated?

Treatment is usually with surgical removal under local anaesthetic. Some patients may be referred for Mohs’ micrographic surgery which is a highly specialised surgical method for removing skin cancer.
In the 20% of patients where the tumour has spread to other organs in the body, treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy will be considered.

Self care (What can I do?)

  • Check your skin regularly for the appearance of a pink lump with a shiny and moist surface especially on your legs. See your GP if you find such a lump.
  • See your GP if you notice a change in patch or lesion that you have always had or have had for a long time. Examples of change include bleeding, ulceration, or if a skin lesion rapidly grows bigger.

Where can I get more information about eccrine porocarcinoma?

Web link to detailed leaflet:

www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/eccrine-porocarcinoma.html   

For details of source materials used please contact the Clinical Standards Unit (clinicalstandards@bad.org.uk).

This leaflet aims to provide accurate information about the subject and is a consensus of the views held by representatives of the British Association of Dermatologists: individual patient circumstances may differ, which might alter both the advice and course of therapy given to you by your doctor.

This leaflet has been assessed for readability by the British Association of Dermatologists’ Patient Information Lay Review Panel

BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF DERMATOLOGISTS
PATIENT INFORMATION LEAFLET
PRODUCED FEBRUARY 2013
UPDATED MAY 2016
REVIEW DATE MAY 2019

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