Your question: How does Merkel cell carcinoma spread?

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How fast does Merkel cell cancer spread?

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.

Is Merkel cell carcinoma 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.

Can Merkel cell cancer 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.

How bad is Merkel cell cancer?

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.

What type of cancer is Merkel?

Also called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin or trabecular cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma is a very rare type of skin cancer that forms when Merkel cells grow out of control. The disease starts most often in areas of skin exposed to the sun, especially the head and neck, as well as the arms, legs, and trunk.

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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.

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.

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.

How do you beat Merkel cell carcinoma?

Treatments for Merkel cell carcinoma can include:

  1. Surgery. During surgery, your doctor removes the tumor along with a border of normal skin surrounding the tumor. …
  2. Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy involves directing high-energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, at cancer cells. …
  3. Immunotherapy. …
  4. Chemotherapy.

Does Merkel cell carcinoma get bigger?

Merkel cell carcinoma can look like a sore

Key facts about this skin cancer that can help you find it early are that MCC tends to: Grow quickly: It usually becomes noticeably bigger in a few weeks to months.

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Can Merkel cell carcinoma be misdiagnosed?

Diagnosis can be difficult. Because of the nonspecific appearance of the tumor, its true nature is generally not established except after biopsy specimens are examined. An MCC can be mistaken for a basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, lymphoma, or small cell carcinoma of the skin.

How is Merkel cell carcinoma diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma is made with a skin biopsy, which is examined under the microscope. At the time of diagnosis, your medical team will perform other tests to “stage” your cancer.