Diagnosis

If a patient has symptoms that could be merkel cell cancer, the doctor will test for fever and high blood pressure and check general signs of health. The patient will likely have one or more of the following tests:

Physical Exam - An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.

Full-Body Skin Exam - A doctor or nurse checks the skin for bumps or spots that look abnormal in color, size, shape, or texture. The size, shape, and texture of the lymph nodes will also be checked.

Biopsy - The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer.

Once the results from the test or procedure are returned you will be able to make thoughtful decisions. Please see Newly Diagnosed  for information on being patient active, treatment decisions, partnering with your healthcare team and finding support. 

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is difficult. Please see Caregivers and/or Online Support for more information on how the Cancer Support Community can offer support.

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