Why is Merkel cell carcinoma so rare?

Is Merkel cell carcinoma a rare disease?

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare form of skin cancer. It is an aggressive type of cancer that can spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.

How bad is Merkel cell carcinoma?

Any distant metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma is very serious and has a very poor prognosis. Treatment of the metastatic disease is aimed at improving quality of life. In some cases, radiotherapy and/or systemic chemotherapy may be administered for treatment.

Is Merkel cell carcinoma always fatal?

Merkel cell carcinoma, or MCC, is a rare skin cancer that can be fatal, killing about 700 people per year. It occurs more commonly in people frequently exposed to ultraviolet light. Most cases of MCC show up first with a small red or purple bump on the skin.

How many people are diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma?

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a type of skin cancer, but it’s not common. About 2,000 cases of MCC are diagnosed in the United States each year.

How quickly does Merkel cell carcinoma grow?

A lesion of metastatic MCC may appear as a 1-3 cm, flesh-colored to red-purple bump that feels firm, is deeper compared to the primary lesion, and grows rapidly over a period of 2-4 weeks.

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Can Merkel cell carcinoma be cured?

Treatment of Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma is highly treatable with surgical and nonsurgical therapies, particularly if caught early. Treatments are often highly individualized, depending on a patient’s general health, as well as the tumor’s location, size, depth, and degree of spread.

Does Merkel cell carcinoma run in families?

MCC does not seem to run in families, so the DNA changes that lead to MCC are not likely passed on (inherited) from a person’s parents. Instead, these changes probably happen during the person’s life. Sometimes these changes might just be random events that happen inside cells, without having an outside cause.

Is Merkel cell carcinoma caused by a virus?

Researchers recently discovered that a common virus plays a role in causing most cases of Merkel cell carcinoma. The virus (Merkel cell polyomavirus) lives on the skin and doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms.

Is Merkel cell carcinoma fast growing?

Merkel cell carcinoma tends to grow quickly and to metastasize (spread) at an early stage. It usually spreads first to nearby lymph nodes and then may spread to lymph nodes or skin in distant parts of the body, lungs, brain, bones, or other organs.

Can Merkel cell carcinoma be benign?

Merkel cells are found at the base of the outermost layer of your skin (epidermis) andare connected to the nerve endings in the skin that are responsible for the sense of touch. There are several different kinds of skin cancer and except for melanoma, most of them are easily treatable and benign.

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How is Merkel cell carcinoma prevented?

Limit your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays

The most important way to lower your risk of skin cancers (including MCC) is to limit your exposure to UV rays. Practice sun safety when you are outdoors.

Is Merkel cell carcinoma a lymphoma?

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma with increased prevalence in patients with immunosuppression or B-cell neoplasms. To the best of our knowledge, an association with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) has not been previously described.