Merkel cell carcinoma treatment

We found 80 clinics & 33 doctors for Merkel cell carcinoma Worldwide. AiroMedical ranks among 437 hospitals based on qualification, experience, success rate, and awards.

Merkel cell carcinoma is an aggressive skin tumor. It usually affects the elderly and is characterized as a rough, painless lump on the body. Firstly, doctors perform surgical removal of skin cancer. Then, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy can be offered.

Merkel cells are special skin cells responsible for the sensation of touch. Merkel cell cancer is rare and highly malignant. However, it is characterized by a high recurrence and metastasis.

Every year there are about 0.3-0.6 cases of carcinoma per 100,000 people. The median age at diagnosis is 75 years. Children rarely suffer from such diseases.

The exact cause of Merkel cell tumors is unclear. However, some risk factors increase the chances of developing the condition:

  • Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation;
  • Reduced immunity (HIV, condition after organ transplantation);
  • Viral infection of Merkel cells.

A sign of carcinoma is the appearance of a nodule on the skin of the face and head or limbs. It is fast-growing, rough, usually red-blue, but asymptomatic.

Most Merkel cell carcinomas are diagnosed incidentally during a skin biopsy (examination of skin tissue samples under a microscope) to rule out other types of skin cancer. Then, doctors recommend imaging (ultrasound, CT or MRI) to check for metastases.

There are several types of treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma, which oncologists often combine. The main treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor and affected lymph nodes.
  • Radiation therapy damages cancer cells with a high-energy beam of energy.
  • Chemotherapy eliminates the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy boosts the body's immunity to recognize and destroy tumor cells on its own.

The five-year survival rate in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma is approximately 70%, depending on the tumor size and metastasis spreading.

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7 countries and 51 cities for Merkel cell carcinoma