What is Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), and which population is most commonly affected?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Arjun S Joshi, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an unusual and highly aggressive skin cancer and often appears in the elderly population. More than one half of all MCCs occur on the head and neck. MCC has a high propensity for local recurrence, as well as regional and distant metastases. One third to one half of patients with MCC eventually die from the disease. [1, 2, 3]

See the following image depicting Merkel cell carcinoma.

Large, violaceous nodule of a Merkel cell carcinom Large, violaceous nodule of a Merkel cell carcinoma on the antecubital fossa (photo courtesy of Dr Jonathan Cook).

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