Merkel cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that leads to an uncontrollable multiplication of the Merkel cells in the skin. It is represented by a single reddish or purple nodule or lump on the skin. It develops in the skin areas that are regularly exposed to the sun. It is a painless tumor. Most of its cases are diagnosed above the age of 70 years. It affects males more than females. Its definite diagnosis is made by biopsy. It is treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare cancer of the skin that develops in Merkel cells. These cells are found in the top layer of the skin. They are located near the nerve endings whose function is to receive the touch sensation. This type of cancer is also known as trabecular cancer.(1)

Merkel cell carcinoma develops in the areas of sun-exposed areas of the skin. It is seen in the head, neck, trunk, arms or legs. Males are more affected than females. Its risk factors involve old age (above 50-60 years), weak immune system, organ transplantation, prior skin disease, and other cancers. It is represented by a single painless reddish or purple lump on the sun-exposed areas. It appears on the head, neck, arms, trunk, and legs.(1)


Alternative Treatment For Merkel Cell Carcinoma

There are many alternative therapies available that can treat Merkel cell carcinoma. But, there are no studies present that can prove the effectiveness of these alternative therapies. Many patients are happy with these therapies. Diet modification, regular exercises, and other lifestyle changes may also improve the cancerous state. They come under alternative therapies.(3)

Avoidance of smoking, regular exercises, maintaining a healthy weight, and having healthy eating habits are some of the basic lifestyle changes that help in the improvement of health. But, it is not known that they can have positive effects on MCC or its risk factors.(4)


Expansion of physical activities through regular exercises in the form of your favorite workouts is recommended. Diet and nutritional supplements may improve the condition. However, it is not proved that they are effective for MCC.(3)

Consumption of healthy fruit and vegetable also boost our over health and improve the immune system. Juice form of the fruits is less effective. Enough fruits and vegetables should be included in the daily diet for good health.(3)

Is Merkel Cell Carcinoma Is A Progressive Disease?

Merkel cell carcinoma develops when Merkel cells in the top layer of the skin develop abnormally in an uncontrolled manner. These cells perceive the sensation of touch. It affects areas of head, neck, arms, trunk, and legs that are regularly exposed to the sun.(2)

Merkel cell carcinoma is also known as neuroendocrine cancer of the skin. It is aggressive cancer. It grows quickly and spread to distant parts of the body even in the early stage. It is a progressive disease. It first progresses to nearby lymph nodes of the affected skin. The cancerous cells quickly can travel to distant parts such as lungs, brain, bones and other organs. If cancer metastasizes, it is very difficult to treat and it can result in life-threatening consequences and even death. It has a low survival rate in the late stages.(2)


Merkel cell carcinoma is a progressive disease that spreads quickly to various parts of the body even in the early stage. It may spread to lymph nodes, lungs, brain, bones and other parts of the body. Diet management, avoidance of smoking, regular exercises, nutritional supplements, and maintaining a healthy weight are the lifestyle changes that can be regarded as alternative therapies to manage MCC.


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Sheetal DeCaria MD

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Last Modified On: August 28, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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