A poroma is a benign tumor of the sweat glands. This condition used to be termed “eccrine poroma” because it was thought that only eccrine sweat glands could develop this growth.

Eccrine sweat glands are those found all over the skin with the highest concentration on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. These glands play an important role in temperature regulation and produce an odorless fluid with a high concentration of electrolytes. In contrast, aprocrine sweat glands are only found in the armpits, nipples, ears, eyelids, and perianal area. These glands produce a much thicker fluid that is rich in lipids, proteins, and pheromones. This fluid is easily broken down by bacteria – a process that results in the unpleasant odor associated with excess sweating.

A poroma can arise in either eccrine or apocrine glands. It appears as a small, red, and sometimes shiny nodule that slowly enlarges until stabilizing, typically around one to two centimeters in diameter. It usually has no symptoms besides the changes in skin appearance, but they can become painful if traumatized.

A poroma can be easily treated though surgical excision and carries a very low risk of recurrence or complications. This treatment carries risk for scarring. It is important to note, however, that this lesion is not cancerous and will never turn cancerous. There is a type of cancer called a porocarcinoma that is derived from the same cells, but a poroma is benign. All persistent new skin lesions should be evaluated by a dermatologist to rule out malignancy.

Schedule an appointment if you think you might have a poroma.