Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a cancer of the Merkel cells of the skin and, like melanoma, is considered a very aggressive skin cancer. MCC is rare, generally occurs in older adults, and can be associated with a fair complexion, history of sun exposure, and a compromised immune system. Whereas melanoma staging is largely based on tumor thickness and lymph node status, the staging of a MCC is based on tumor size and lymph node status.
Merkel cell carcinomas are treated very much like melanoma with a Wide Local Excision and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (see “Melanoma Education”). Because Merkel cell carcinomas have a higher risk of recurring in their original location, radiation therapy is often used after surgery to the operated area. The management of MCC is part of the armamentarium of our surgical oncologists at Melanoma & Sarcoma Specialists of Georgia.