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Skin cancer types: Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans self-care

Tips for managing dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)

Findings from research studies suggest that patients treated for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) should:

  1. Keep all follow-up appointments with your doctors. This skin cancer can return after treatment. If DFSP returns, it usually returns within 3 years of treatment. DFSP can return later, too. It has appeared 10 years or more after treatment.

    Some patients develop new DFSPs or other skin cancers. For this reason, dermatologists recommend lifelong follow-up exams. These follow-up exams help find skin cancer in the earliest stage. The sooner skin cancer is found and treated, the more likely the cancer can be treated successfully.

  2. Perform skin self-exams as often as your dermatologist recommends. If you have received treatment for DFSP, it is essential that you learn how to perform a skin self-exam. Your dermatologist or someone in your dermatologist’s office can teach you exactly what you need to know.

    When examining your skin, you should immediately contact your dermatologist if you:

    • Find any new growth or rough patch on your skin
    • Feel a change in your lymph nodes

  3. Think about joining a support group. Many people live long lives after receiving treatment for DFSP. Knowing that DFSP can return may be stressful. Some people who have had DFSP say a support group helps them feel better emotionally.

    You may be able to find a local support group by asking your doctor or contacting a local hospital.

  4. Ask your doctors what else you can do to improve your outcome. Asking questions can help you feel more in control. Your doctors may have insight that can help you feel better or reduce your risk for getting another cancer.

Bichakjian CK, Alam M, Andersen J et al. “Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: Clinical practice guidelines in oncology.” National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Version 2.2013.

Gloster HM. “Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 1996;35(3 Pt 1):355-74.