Sebaceous Carcinoma: What it Looks Like
A rare skin cancer, sebaceous (suh-bey-shuh
s) carcinoma (SC) usually develops on an eyelid. Because it can look
like a sty that won’t go away or conjunctivitis (pink eye), many SCs
that appear on an eyelid are not diagnosed in the early stages. The
earlier any skin cancer is detected, the better the outcome.
Pictures of Sebaceous Carcinoma
Sebaceous carcinoma most
often develops on the upper eyelid.
The growth on this lower
eyelid is sebaceous carcinoma.
Photographs used with permission of the Journal
of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The photographs were published in the Journal
of the American Academy of Dermatology,
Vol. # 33, Nelson BR, Hamlet KR, Gillard M, et al.
“Sebaceous carcinoma.” 1 - 15. Copyright Elsevier
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Where Sebaceous Carcinoma Develops
SC can develop anywhere on the body where we have sebaceous glands.
Sebaceous glands produce oily substances that keep our skin and
other areas moist. Because the skin around the eyes is rich in
sebaceous glands, most SCs develop on an eyelid. SC also can appear
on the head, neck, inside the mouth, genitals, in the ear, and even
on top of the big toe.
When to See a Dermatologist
You should see a dermatologist if you notice the following:
A growth on your eyelid that is
slowly enlarging, firm, and deep seated. It may look like a sty.
It can bleed.
A case of conjunctivitis (pink eye)
that just won’t go away
An open sore on your eyelid that
does not heal or heals and then re-appears
Any growth on your skin or inside
your mouth or ear that does not disappear in two weeks
SC can be aggressive. It can get inside
blood vessels and creep along the nerves. This is why early
diagnosis and treatment are so important. Left untreated, it can be
disfiguring, interfere with your vision, and even spread to other
parts of the body.
What is Sebaceous Carcinoma?
Blake PW, Bradford PT, Devesa SS et al. “Cutaneous
appendageal carcinoma incidence and survival patterns in the United
States: a population-based study.” Archives of Dermatology.
June 2010, 146: 625-32.
Martinelli PT, Cohen PR, Schulze KE et al. “Sebaceous
Carcinoma.” In Nouri K. [editor]. Skin Cancer. United States.
McGraw Hill Medical; 2008. p. 240-9.
Nelson BR, Hamlet KR, Gillard M et al. “Sebaceous carcinoma.”
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. July 1995;
33: 1-15; quiz 6-8.
content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
Sebaceous carcinoma can develop anywhere sebaceous (oil)
glands occur, such as on the neck, inside the mouth, or
even on top of the big toe.