Merkel Cell Carcinoma Risk Factors & Symptoms at MedStar Georgetown
Merkel cells make up one of the skin’s top layers. Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of cancer that affects these skin cells. It generally affects parts of the skin exposed to the sun, including the limbs, head, and neck.
We offer the expertise and compassionate care you need to manage Merkel cell carcinoma.
All of the surgical oncologists on our team have years of specialized training and experience treating people with cancer. We take a multidisciplinary approach to your care, collaborating with specialists in many fields to find the best solutions for you. Our care is driven by the latest research advances, and offers you access to the most advanced cancer clinical trials.
Risk factors make it more likely that you will develop a disease. The risk factors for Merkel cell carcinoma include:
- Heavy exposure to sunlight
- Heavy exposure to artificial light, including tanning beds
- Diseases that affect your immune system, like HIV
- Taking medication that suppresses your immune system
Merkel Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
The symptoms of Merkel cell carcinoma may be similar to the symptoms for other problems. Make sure to talk with a doctor if you notice a lump that:
- Appears on parts of the skin exposed to the sun such as the head, neck, arms, and legs
- Does not hurt
- Grows quickly
- Is red or purplish
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