Merkel cell carcinoma starts most often in areas of skin exposed to the sun, especially the head and neck, as well as the arms, legs, and trunk.
Where does Merkel skin cancer start?
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) usually starts on areas of skin exposed to the sun, especially the face, neck, arms, and legs, but it can occur anywhere on the body. It often first appears as a single pink, red, or purple shiny bump that usually doesn’t hurt.
How quickly does Merkel cell carcinoma spread?
A lesion of metastatic MCC may appear as a 1-3 cm, flesh-colored to red-purple bump that feels firm, is deeper compared to the primary lesion, and grows rapidly over a period of 2-4 weeks.
Where are Merkel cells located?
A special type of cell found right below the epidermis (top layer of skin). These cells are very close to the nerve endings that receive the sensation of touch and may be involved in touch.
What is the most aggressive skin cancer?
Melanoma is the most deadly of all the skin cancers and affects over 44,000 Americans each year. Although thousands of Americans will die from this disease, melanoma is almost always curable when detected in its earliest stages.
What virus causes Merkel cell carcinoma?
Researchers recently discovered that a common virus plays a role in causing most cases of Merkel cell carcinoma. The virus (Merkel cell polyomavirus) lives on the skin and doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms. Just how this virus causes Merkel cell carcinoma has yet to be determined.
Is Merkel cell carcinoma always fatal?
Merkel cell carcinoma, or MCC, is a rare skin cancer that can be fatal, killing about 700 people per year. It occurs more commonly in people frequently exposed to ultraviolet light. Most cases of MCC show up first with a small red or purple bump on the skin.
What else looks like Merkel cell carcinoma?
An MCC can be mistaken for a basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, lymphoma, or small cell carcinoma of the skin. Most MCCs are provisionally diagnosed as basal cell carcinomas before biopsy.
Does Merkel cell carcinoma grow?
Merkel cell carcinoma tends to grow quickly and to metastasize (spread) at an early stage. It usually spreads first to nearby lymph nodes and then may spread to lymph nodes or skin in distant parts of the body, lungs, brain, bones, or other organs.
How is Merkel cell carcinoma prevented?
Limit your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays
The most important way to lower your risk of skin cancers (including MCC) is to limit your exposure to UV rays. Practice sun safety when you are outdoors.
Does Merkel cell carcinoma make you tired?
Fatigue. Fatigue is a common side effect of treatment for many types of cancer, including Merkel cell carcinoma. The best way to deal with fatigue is to listen to your body.
Is Merkel cell carcinoma malignant?
Merkel cell carcinoma is a very rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the skin. Sun exposure and having a weak immune system can affect the risk of Merkel cell carcinoma. Merkel cell carcinoma usually appears as a single painless lump on sun-exposed skin.