Microcystic adnexal carcinoma is a rare type of cancer that usually develops in areas of the body where sweat is produced (sweat glands). The largest of these sweat-producing sites and also the most common location where microcystic adnexal carcinoma develops is the central face. The cancer forms when a change (mutation) in DNA causes certain cells to grow out of control, sometimes forming a lump or a tumor. Microcystic adnexal carcinoma may also occur in the general head and neck regions. Some of these cancerous cells can break off and spread ("metastasize") to other parts of the body and grow there.
Microcystic adnexal carcinoma most commonly occurs in adults between the ages of 40 and 60, though it can appear in all age groups. Factors that may increase the risk of developing microcystic adnexal carcinoma include excess exposure to sunlight, sunburn, and a family history of skin cancer. The most common symptoms of microcystic adnexal carcinoma include redness, inflammation, and irritation of the skin. There can also be a cyst-like growth near the neck, mouth, or cheek areas, which may or may not be painful. Diagnoses are made usually with a combination of a physical exam, imaging studies, and other laboratory studies.
Treatment for microcystic adnexal carcinoma depends on many factors such as how large the cancer growth is and if it has spread to other areas of the body. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with microcystic adnexal carcinoma, talk to your doctor and specialists about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also available for more resources and information.