Merkel cell carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma, or neuroendocrine carcinoma, is a rare but extremely dangerous cancer that appears on the skin. Neuroendocrine tumors are neoplasms that arise from cells of the endocrine and nervous systems.

It tends to grow fast and to spread quickly to other parts of the body. It can metastasize and be fatal. Symptoms are very subtle. Usually there is no pain or discomfort so they are discovered on routine body checks with a dermatologist. It might look like a painless red, blue, or purple nodule anywhere on your body.

If you notice a mole, freckle or bump that is changing in size, shape or color, growing rapidly, or bleeding easily make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately.

Major risk factors for Merkel cell carcinoma are:
• Excessive sun exposure
• Immunodeficiency
• Having skin cancer or precancer in the past
• Age over 50
• Fair skin

Date of Publication:
May 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm