An Up and Coming Skin Cancer

Merkel cell carcinoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer caused by exposure to a common virus. The virus is often found on normal skin and on frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs and faucet handles).

Considered a rare disease, the incidence almost doubled between 2000 and 2013 ds00190_-ds00802_im02416_r7_merkelcellthu_jpgaccording to CDC statistics.(1) The disease is more common among

  1. Older people
  2. Caucasians or those with very light skin color
  3. Those with extensive exposure to the sun
  4. Those with weakened immune systems.(2)

What makes this disease different from other skin cancers is its speed, its ability to spread to organs inside the body. If untreated, it kills.

There is treatment for it.

Self-protection involves hygiene and vigilence. Watch you skin for changes. The painless “mole” is a clear warning sign. And wash you hands. You don’t need to transport the virus.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology. “Increasing incidence of rare skin cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2018. <>

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