Merkel cell carcinoma is an exceedingly rare skin cancer that happens on sun-exposed areas. It is formed by the Merkel cell that resides in the skin. The function of the Merkel cell is not entirely well understood. Merkel cell carcinoma is considered one of the more dangerous carcinomas for the skin, as it can metastasize and cause death. Oftentimes, it presents in elderly individuals around the ear. So if you have an unusual looking bump that is painful, it is important to get it examined, as this may rarely be a sign of Merkel cell carcinoma.