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Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC)

A rare and very aggressive skin cancer that most often occurs on sun exposed areas such as the head, neck, arms, legs or trunk. Known causes of MCC include the Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). Roughly 80% of MCC tumors are infected with the Merkel cell polyomavirus. People with a weakened immune system and/or extensive sun damage are at higher risk of developing MCC. The stage of MCC can vary at diagnosis and throughout treatment.

The stage at diagnosis is the best predictor if the cancer will return. Stages of MCC include 0, IA, IB, IIA, IIB, IIC, IIIA, IIIB, and IV. The effectiveness of the treatment may depend upon the stage at diagnosis. MCC usually involves multiple therapy types such as radiation, surgery, and systemic (intravenous and/or oral) medications.

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Created: July 15, 2017 Updated: September 18, 2017


PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board. Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version. 2017 Jun 16. In: PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Cancer Institute (US).