Skin Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

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Sweat Gland, Sebaceous Adenocarcinoma in Dogs

Adenocarcinoma is a glandular skin cancer that occurs when a malignant growth develops from sebaceous glands and sweat glands. Skin cancer appears as solid, firm or raised areas (lesions) on the skin. The lesions can bleed (ulcerate) and the area may swell or become red. While these tumors are most common on the face, they can occur anywhere the animal has sweat glands. Treatment options are generally effective when started early and in many cases leads to a positive outcome.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library. 

Symptoms and Types 

Lesions can be present on the dog's body as a single lesion or in many different areas. Skin cancer can appear as a solid, firm mass, or a raised lesion on the skin.


The cause of skin cancer is currently unknown.


For a proper diagnosis to be made, a biopsy will be necessary. Your veterinarian will take a tissue sample of the tumor to evaluate under a microscope, and will more than likely be performing a  cytologic examination of the structure of the cells from the sample to determine whether the disease has spread throughout the body, and the speed at which it is metastasizing (spreading). An X-ray may also be used to determine if internal tumors are present.

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