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How is Merkel cell carcinoma diagnosed?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The first step in diagnosing Merkel cell carcinoma is usually a physical exam that includes an inspection of your skin and a review of your medical history. If doctors think that the tumor is caused by Merkel cell carcinoma, they will perform a biopsy, which involves removing a part of the tumor and analyzing it under a microscope. If doctors think that the cancer has already spread, they may perform several other tests to find out how far it's spread. Doctors may biopsy nearby lymph nodes to check for cancerous cells. They may also do other tests, such as computerized tomography (CT) scans, x-ray scans, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans to create images check your organs for Merkel cell carcinoma.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.