Merkel Cell Carcinoma

What it is:

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer that usually develops in older people. Long-term sun exposure or having a weak immune system may increase your risk of developing Merkel cell carcinoma. Merkel cell carcinomais a very aggressive cancer that tends to grow fast and spread quickly (metastasize) to other parts of your body.


What it looks like:

The first sign of Merkel cell carcinoma is usually a fast-growing, painless bump on your skin. It may be skin colored, red, blue or purple. Nearly half of Merkel cell carcinomas appear on the face, head or neck, but they can develop anywhere on your body, even on areas not exposed to sunlight.


How we treat it:

Surgical excision (removal) of the nodule followed by radiation or chemotherapy is the treatment.