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What are the symptoms of Merkel cell carcinoma?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Merkel cell carcinoma usually appears as a single painless lump on sun-exposed skin.

This and other changes in the skin may be caused by Merkel cell carcinoma. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if changes in the skin are seen.

Merkel cell carcinoma usually appears on sun-exposed skin as a single lump that is:
  • Fast-growing.
  • Painless.
  • Firm and dome-shaped or raised.
  • Red or violet in color.
This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute

The main symptom of Merkel cell carcinoma is a tumor that looks like a flesh-colored or reddish-blue bump on the skin. These growths are usually relatively small and are painless, but they can grow very quickly, even in just a few weeks or months. Merkel cell carcinomas often develop on areas of skin that are exposed to the sun, most commonly on the face and neck, but they can develop almost anywhere.

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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.