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Skin Appendage Tumors Seem on the Rise in U.S.

Cancer of sweat glands most common, but cases of eyelid cancer also up, study finds

MONDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Tumors of skin appendages, such as sweat glands, mammary glands, hair and nails, appear to be increasing in the United States, says a new study.

Because these cutaneous appendageal carcinomas are still rare, research into them has been limited.

In this new study, a team at the U.S. National Cancer Institute analyzed 1978 to 2005 data from 16 cancer registries and found that the incidence rate for these types of cancers was 5.1 cases per 1 million people. Men were more likely than women to develop one of the cancers. Whites had higher rates than Hispanics, blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders. The most common type was cancer of the sweat glands (apocrine-eccrine carcinoma).

Incidence rates of cutaneous appendageal cancers increased with age. People 80 and older were 100 times more likely to develop one of these cancers than people aged 20 to 29.

The researchers also found that rates of cutaneous appendageal cancers increased 150 percent between the periods 1978 to 1982 and 2002 to 2005. Rates of sweat gland cancer increased 170 percent and rates of cancers of the eyelid glands (sebaceous carcinomas) increased 217 percent.

Five-year survival rates for cutaneous appendageal cancers were 99 percent for localized disease and 43 percent for cancers that had spread to other parts of the body.

The study is published in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

"Cutaneous appendageal carcinoma incidence rates are increasing in the United States, especially for sebaceous carcinoma, perhaps related to improved recognition and classification, but factors such as UV exposure and immunosuppression may also play a role," Patrick W. Blake and colleagues said in a news release from the publisher. "Further increases in cutaneous appendageal carcinomas over time should prompt new strategies for cancer screening and early intervention of this cancer."

More information

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has more about eyelid cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, June 21, 2010

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