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Noncancerous, Precancerous and Cancerous Tumors

Picture of Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Picture of Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma is an uncommon but very dangerous type of skin cancer. It occurs most often in fair-skinned individuals over the age of 50. Merkel cell carcinomas look like red, blue, or flesh-colored lumps that appear on sun-exposed areas of the skin. What makes this cancer dangerous is that it grows very quickly and can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, even when it is very small. Merkel cell carcinoma can spread to regional lymph nodes as well as distant sites in the body. Like melanoma, the prognosis for Merkel cell carcinoma that has spread is poor.

Image Source: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology Klaus Wolff, Richard Allen Johnson, Dick Suurmond Copyright 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved.

Text Reference: "Merkel Cell Carcinoma: An Uncommon But Often Lethal Cancer." Skin Cancer Foundation.