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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Merkel cell carcinoma


Other Names for this Disease

  • Carcinoma, merkel cell
  • Cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • Merkel cell cancer
  • Merkle tumors
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare type of skin cancer that usually appears as a single, painless, lump on sun-exposed skin. It is typically red or violet in color. It is considered fast-growing and can spread quickly to surrounding tissues, nearby lymph nodes, or more distant parts of the body. Merkel cell polyomavirus has been detected in about 80% of the tumors tested. It is thought that this virus can cause somatic mutations leading to MCC when the immune system is weakened. Other risk factors for developing MCC include ultraviolet radiation and being over 50 years of age. Treatment should begin early and depends on the location and size of the cancer, and the extent to which it has spread.[1]
Last updated: 10/6/2014

References

  1. National Cancer Institute. General Information about Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment. 2011; http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/merkelcell/healthprofessional. Accessed 5/22/2011.
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Basic Information

  • The American Cancer Society provides detailed information about American Cancer Society. Click on the link to access this information. 
  • DermNet NZ is an online resource about skin diseases developed by the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. DermNet NZ provides information about this condition.
  • The Merck Manual provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.  Click on the link to view information on this topic. 
  • SkinCancerNet is a comprehensive online skin cancer information resource developed by the American Academy of Dermatology. Click on the link to view information on Merkel cell carcinoma.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Merkel cell carcinoma. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

Insurance Issues

Other Names for this Disease
  • Carcinoma, merkel cell
  • Cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • Merkel cell cancer
  • Merkle tumors
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.