Lifestyle Changes For Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare disease of the skin that leads to the development of cancerous nodules or lumps in the skin. It is also called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin or trabecular cancer. In this cancer, the Merkel cells of the skin grow out of control. It develops as a solitary painless nodule on the sun-exposed areas. It is seen in the head, neck, trunk, arms, and legs. It affects old people above 60 years who have a weak immune system. It metastasizes at fast speed even in the early stage and spread to vital body parts.

Lifestyle Changes For Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Lifestyle Changes For Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma is a very rare disease characterized by cancerous growth on the skin. It tends to grow in an uncontrolled manner on the areas of skin which is regularly exposed to the sun. It is especially seen in the head, neck, trunk, arms, and legs. It grows rapidly and spread quickly to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. It usually develops in people who are old or who have a weak immune system. It grows as a single painless red or purple lump on the sun-exposed areas of the skin.(1)

Certain lifestyle changes may help in the management of Merkel cell carcinoma. The following lifestyle changes can be adopted to manage Merkel cell carcinoma-

Avoidance Of Sun Exposure- the best way to manage Merkel cell carcinoma is to avoid the sun during peak hours. You should avoid going in the sunlight when the sun-rays are strongest. You should avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can shift these activities to early hours in the morning or late in the day.

Protection Of Skin And Eyes- you should shield your eyes and skin while going out in the sun. You can try tightly woven clothes with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses (having protection against Ultraviolet rays).

Application Of Sunscreen- use sunscreen often to avoid sun exposure. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 15 SPF is advised to be applied every two hours. If you are swimming or perspiring, sunscreen should be applied more frequently.

Observation Of Skin Changes – if you notice a mole or bump or nodule that is changing in shape or size or color, you should consult your doctor. However, most skin nodules do not turn into cancer. In Merkel cell carcinoma, if it is detected in early stages, its treatment is more successful.

Healthy Living – avoidance of smoking, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and having healthy eating habits are some of the basic lifestyle changes that help in the improvement of overall health. But it is not known that they can have positive effects on Merkel cell carcinoma or its risk factors.(3)

Dietary Supplements – there is no evidence that dietary supplements have any positive effect on the risk or improvement of Merkel cell carcinoma. But, they are also not restricted during the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma. You may consult your physician for this.(3)

The risk factors that may promote the development of the tumors of Merkel cell carcinoma are-

  • Regular exposure to the sunlight or ultraviolet rays
  • Age above 50 years
  • Male
  • White complexion
  • Exposure to artificial light such a tanning beds, psoralen, and ultraviolet therapy for psoriasis
  • The weak immune system in HIV infection, chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Organ transplantation
  • Consumption of drugs that weaken the immune system
  • History of skin disease
  • History of other types of cancer(1)


Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare disease of the skin characterized by an uncontrollable division of Merkel cells on the skin. Avoidance of sun exposure in the peak hours of the day, use of sunscreen, careful observation of the skin changes, healthy eating habits and others discussed above are few lifestyle changes that can help in Merkel cell carcinoma.


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