Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans FAQs
What is dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans? »
Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans is a rare type of skin cancer that develops in the middle layer of the skin, the dermis. It grows slowly and seldom spreads. Treating it is important, however, as dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans can grow into surrounding fat, muscle, even bone. If that happens, it can be difficult to treat.
What are the symptoms of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans? »
The first sign of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans is usually a small bump on the skin. The area of skin will feel rubbery or hard to the touch. This will be red and may resemble a deep-seated pimple. As it grows, it will turn into a reddish-brown and slightly raised patch of skin. By the time the red bump becomes the brown patch, the cancer is growing more rapidly and may cause pain or bleed. This only occurs in roughly 15 percent of people with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.
What causes dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans? »
The causes of this rare form of skin cancer are unknown. There is some thought that dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans can begin on skin that was badly injured from a burn or from surgery. There is not a link between sun exposure and this rare skin cancer.
How is dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans treated? »
Most cases of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans can be treated with surgery to remove the cancer. Because this form of cancer grows more deeply and tends to spread out akin to the roots of a plant, it can be harder to make sure all of the cancer is removed.
For many patients with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, Mohs surgery is recommended. By removing the main growth, along with a surrounding ring of healthy tissue, and then immediately examining the outer ring for cancer cells, Mohs surgery virtually assures success in removing all of the cancer.
What is the cure rate of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans? »
Prior to the development of Mohs methods for excision, there was a high recurrence rate with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. That has changed. Even with recurrent dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, Mohs surgery has a 98 percent cure rate.