What screening tests are available for Merkel cell carcinoma?

Early detection of Merkel cell carcinoma is important to help prevent the spread of the disease, so remember to check your skin regularly for any unusual growths or bumps, even if they are painless, and to discuss any abnormalities or concerns with your doctor.

Screening for Merkel Cell Carcinoma

An easy way for you and your doctor to determine your risk for developing Merkel cell carcinoma is to look for signs that the AEIOU rule highlights as key risk factors:

  • A: Asymptomatic – a lump or mole is painless.
  • E: Expanding rapidly – a lump or mole has developed and grown quickly.
  • I: Immune suppressed – if you have a weakened immune system, you have a higher risk of developing this rare type of skin cancer.
  • O: Older than 50 – age is a risk factor in developing Merkel cell carcinoma.
  • U: UV exposure – if you spend a lot of time in the sun, in tanning beds or undergo ultraviolet therapy for psoriasis, your risk increases.

3D VECTRA Imaging

If any abnormalities are found, your doctor may recommend monitoring your skin over time. Miami Cancer Institute’s Skin Cancer Clinic is the first health system in the southern United States to utilize the state-of-the-art 3D Vectra imaging technology.

This groundbreaking imaging system scans, without radiation, nearly the entire surface of the skin in one instantaneous capture, creating high-resolution pictures and images that further help the Clinic’s specialists locate and track lesions and other skin abnormalities.

The detailed images created with this revolutionary new system enable Miami Cancer Institute’s experts to study, map and monitor lesions and pigment changes.

"There’s a lot of excitement about new options to treat neuroendocrine tumors like Merkel cell carcinoma."

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