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Does Merkel Cell Carcinoma Hurt & What Virus Causes It?

Merkel cell carcinoma is the condition characterized by a painless nodule on the skin. The nodule generally occurs on that part of the skin which is exposed to light; however, it may occur at any skin area. Disease, in its initial phase, appears to be benign, leading to delay in diagnosis. Polyomavirus is the causative virus for Merkel cell carcinoma.

Does Merkel Cell Carcinoma Hurt?

Does Merkel Cell Carcinoma Hurt?

In Merkel cell carcinoma disease, a reddish and purple lesion occurs on the skin. It is a painless disease. Risk of Merkel cell carcinoma increased when the skin is exposed to sunlight and artificial light. The weak immune system of the patients is also one of the most common risk factors of Merkel cell carcinoma. In some cases, the lesion on the skin is broken open and bleeds. The bump on the skin is progressing rapidly and spread as a new lump on another part of the skin. However, the patient does not experience any pain.

What Virus Causes Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

What Virus Causes Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

Merkel Cell Polyomavirus: The Merkel cell polyomavirus is an important cause of the Merkel cell carcinoma. During infection, the Merkel cell polyomavirus grows inside the skin and synthesizes a protein that reduces the release of tumor suppression gene and leads to the development of Merkel cell carcinoma in the patients. This virus is responsible for almost 80% of Merkel cell carcinoma cases.

Week immune System: The patients with a weak immune system have more chance of Merkel cell carcinoma because the Merkel cell virus easily grows inside the body of such patients and cause Merkel cell carcinoma.

Exposure To Sunlight: Ultraviolet radiations and artificial light may also increase the risk of developing Merkel cell carcinoma. Ultraviolet rays damage the DNA of the cell which is responsible for controlling the cell growth and their functions in the body. This is believed to be the first step in the path of cancer.

Immunosuppression: The Merkel cell carcinoma is also caused by the defective immune function, HIV infection and immune suppression during organ transplantation.

Age: Aging also increases the risk of Merkel cell carcinoma. The condition most commonly occurs in people with age above 50 years as the immune system becomes weak and the power to counter the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiations also decreases. White males are more vulnerable to Merkel cell carcinoma3.

Merkel cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer. Merkel cell carcinoma also called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin. It is a rare and painless disease that normally develops in older people. The disease is characterized by a flushed color and bluish-red nodule which may develop on the face, head, arm, and neck. The condition is normally caused by long-term sun exposure and a weak immune system. The Merkel cell carcinoma is mostly developed by the Merkel cell polyomavirus. The Merkel cell carcinoma is a disease that spread quickly in the other body part and carries a higher risk of recurrence throughout the body1.

Symptoms Of Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma occurs most commonly in areas of the body that are exposed to sunlight, although the disease may occur at any part of the body.

Lump on the skin: In this disease, a bluish red and flushed color bump appear on the face, neck, hand, arms and other parts of the body. However, it that does not cause any pain on the skin. The lesions may vary in size. The nodules or lesions are usually fast-growing1.

Quickly spreading: Merkel cell carcinoma, although rare skin cancer is highly aggressive and quickly spreads, even when the cancer is not in advanced stage2.


Patient with Merkel cell carcinoma does not feel any pain. The nodule has red-bluish color and is highly aggressive. Although rare, it has the potential to quickly spread to other body parts. Almost 80% of Merkel cell carcinoma cases are due to polyomavirus.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 12, 2021

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