In rare cases, epidermoid cysts can give rise to basal and squamous cell skin cancers. Because this occurs so seldom, epidermoid cysts usually aren't biopsied unless they're solid, immobile, infected or have other unusual characteristics that suggest a more serious problem. Besides cancer, other complications include:
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- Inflammation. Epidermoid cysts can become tender and swollen, even if they're not infected. Inflamed cysts are difficult to remove, and your doctor is likely to postpone treating them until the inflammation subsides.
- Rupture. A ruptured cyst often leads to a boil-like abscess that requires prompt treatment.
- Infection. An epidermoid cyst can become infected spontaneously or after a rupture.
- Genital discomfort. Genital epidermoid cysts can lead to painful intercourse and urination.
- Epidermal cysts. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch127/ch127c.html. Accessed March 2, 2011.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Overview of benign lesions of the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 18, 2011.
- Penneys NS, et al. Common benign cutaneous growths: Seborrheic keratoses, cherry hemangiomas, and epidermoid cysts. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/education/students/benign_cutan_growths.htm. Accessed March 2, 2011.
- Thomas VD, et al. Benign epithelial tumors, hamartomas, and hyperplasias. In Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2981819. Accessed March 3, 2011.
- Habif TP. Benign skin tumors. In: Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 3, 2011.