The first sign of Merkel cell carcinoma is usually a fast-growing, painless nodule (tumor) on your skin. The nodule may be skin colored or may appear in shades of red, blue or purple. Most 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.
When to see a doctor
If you notice a mole, freckle or bump that is changing in size, shape or color, growing rapidly or bleeding easily after minor trauma, such as washing your skin or shaving, make an appointment with your doctor.
Dec. 11, 2012
- Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1709/0.html. Accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
- Merkel cell carcinoma. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
- Merkel cell carcinoma treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/merkelcell/patient. Accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
- Skin cancer prevention tips. SkinCancerNet. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/skincancernet/prevention.html. Accessed Oct. 22, 2012.