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Skin cancer types: Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans causes

Who gets dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)?

People of all ages get this rare skin cancer. Most people are diagnosed when they are between 20 and 50 years of age.

Although unusual, children get DFSP. Sometimes, a child is born with DFSP. In newborns, this skin cancer often looks like a birthmark.

People of all races get DFSP. In looking at the U.S. cancer records, dermatologists discovered that between 1973 and 2002:

  • Blacks were slightly more likely than whites to get DFSP

  • Among whites, those living in Hawaii had the highest incidence of DFSP

  • Cases of DFSP are increasing; this increase is greatest among whites

What causes dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans?

Scientists do not yet know what causes DFSP.

In treating patients with DFSP, dermatologists have learned that this cancer sometimes begins on skin that was badly injured. The injured skin may have a scar from a burn or surgery. Sometimes, DFSP forms where a person received many radiation treatments or vaccines.

More research is needed to know whether a skin injury plays a role in causing DFSP.

Buck DW, Kim JY, Alam M, “Multidisciplinary approach to the management of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012;67(5):861-6.

Checketts SR, Hamilton TK, Baughman RD. “Congenital and childhood dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: a case report and review of the literature.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000;42(5 Pt 2):907-13.

Criscione VD, Weinstock MA. “Descriptive epidemiology of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans in the United States, 1973 to 2002.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;56(6):968-73.

Halpern M, Chen E, Ratner D. “Sarcomas.” In Nouri K. [editor]. Skin Cancer. United States. McGraw Hill Medical; 2008. p. 217-18.

Stivala A, Lombardo GA, Pompili G. “Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: Our experience of 59 cases.” Oncol Lett. 2012; 4(5): 1047–55.