Sunshine is something we all crave, especially after long winters or in the middle of chilly days. But, it’s important to know that over-exposure to the sun can have serious consequences. One of those consequences could be Merkel cell carcinoma. Jimmy Buffett, the famous musician, recently lost his life to this cancer. His death has brought attention to this rare, aggressive cancer, and why it’s crucial to get an early diagnosis. Today, we’ll be discussing what Merkel cell skin cancer is, how it’s diagnosed, what your treatment options are, and why it’s so important to visit our team at The Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana in Indianapolis for an annual skin check.
Don’t Let Sun Damage Go Undetected – The Importance of Early Detection of Merkel Cell Carcinoma
What is Merkel Cell Carcinoma?
Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive skin cancer that starts in Merkel cells, which are located in the epidermis layer of your skin. Merkel cells are part of the nervous system and help us feel touch. When these cells develop mutations, as a result of sun exposure or other factors, they can become cancerous. Along with over-exposure to sunlight, elderly individuals, those with weakened immune systems, and those who have undergone radiation treatments are at higher risk of developing this cancer.
How Merkel Cell Carcinoma is Diagnosed
One of the biggest challenges with Merkel cell carcinoma is that it often presents as a painless, firm, and reddish lump on your skin, which is easily dismissed as a harmless blemish or mole. It’s not always easy to detect, so it’s important to get an annual skin check-up. During your skin check, our team will examine all parts of your body for unusual spots, and if we find anything unusual, we’ll perform a biopsy. This biopsy allows us to check the skin’s cells under a microscope to determine if cancer is present.
If you’re diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma, there are several treatment options available to you. The treatment will depend on the size and location of the tumor and whether or not it has spread to other parts of your body. Surgical removal is often the first-line treatment for isolated tumors. Following surgery, radiation therapy may also be recommended to prevent reoccurrences. Other treatments like immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy may be recommended to treat more advanced stages of this cancer.
Schedule a Skin Check Appointment in Indianapolis at The LASSI
Merkel cell carcinoma can be a deadly cancer if left undetected and untreated. Regular skin checks are important to help detect any suspicious spots or growths. In addition, protecting your skin from the sun reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. Skipping sunscreen and tanning can not only cause sunburns but also skin cancers such as the deadly Merkel cell. Our team at The Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana in Indianapolis can perform an annual skin check to evaluate the health of your skin. Our team of board-certified dermatologists is experienced in diagnosing and treating various types of skin cancer, including Merkel cell carcinoma. So, contact us, and let’s make sure you stay on top of your skin health. Remember, early detection saves lives!