Merkel Cell Carcinoma

What is Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

Market Cell Carcinoma is the top layer of the skin. These cells are very close to the nerve endings that receive the sensation of touch. Another name of merkel cell carcinoma is neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin or trabecular cancer. 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. Other than that, this types of cancer tends to grow quickly and to metastasize (spread) at an early stage. Usually,this cancer 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.


What is risk factor of merkel cell carcinoma?
    • A weakened immune system

The people who have the HIV infection or those taking drugs that suppress the immune response are higher possibility to get merkel cell carcinoma.

    • Excessive exposure to natural or artificial sunlight

The majority of Merkel Cell Carcinoma appears on skin surfacesfrequently exposed to sun. The skin exposed to ultraviolet light such as the light that comes from the sun or from tanning beds will increase the risk of merkel cell carcinoma.

    • Age

This cancer is most often in people older than age 50, though it can at any age.

    • Light skin color

Usually, Market Cell Carcinoma arises in people who have light-colored skin. The people who have white skin are much more likely to be affected by this skin cancer than blacks.


How merkel cell carcinomas appear?

Merkel cell carcinoma usually develops on sun-exposed skin (e.g head, neck and arms) as a painless, firm and flesh colored to red or blue bump is growing rapidly or the overlying skin is breaking down. Other than that, most of merkel cell carcinoma is diagnosed when a skin biopsy is performed to rule out another sun induced skin cancer or a cyst.

How to prevent and early detection?
    • Avoid exposure to the sun

For the best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect from excessive exposure to sunlight and not only go to the beach. We need prevent this cancer by practices every day wearing protective hats and clothing, seeking shade and avoiding the midday sun and tanning beds, and using broad-spectrum sunscreen even on cloudy days.

    • Screening and skin examination

Usually, during a skin examination with a dermatologist, doctor will look at new growth, spots or bumps on skin to determine whether they might be cancerous or precancerous. After the examination, doctor will show how to examine own skin and determine whether any growths have changed in appearance.


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