Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Leading-Edge Care for Merkel Cell Carcinoma Patients

If you have not heard of merkel cell carcinoma, that is not surprising. This type of skin cancer is very rare and develops just beneath the skin and in hair follicles. This cancer starts most often in areas of skin exposed to the sun such as the head, neck, arms and legs, and occurs mostly in Caucasians between 60 and 80 years of age. Even though uncommon, merkel cell carcinoma can be diagnosed and treated successfully at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center.

Advanced Merkel Cell Cancer Treatment

UH Seidman Cancer Center is part of the National Cancer Institute-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, one of an elite group of 41 comprehensive cancer centers nationwide. Our nationally recognized cancer program has expertise for routine and very complex skin cancer care for advanced stages such as stage III and IV. The merkel cell carcinoma experts at UH Seidman Cancer Center are highly experienced in the areas of cutaneous, head and neck oncology and melanoma. Working collaboratively, these cancer specialists will evaluate a patient’s cancer and recommend the most advanced cancer treatment plan after considering the following:

  • Tumor location
  • Progression
  • Size
  • Stage

There are treatments for all patients with Merkel cell carcinoma. Available treatment options include:

  • Surgery techniques
  • Taking out the cancer and the skin around the cancer to make sure all cancer cells have been removed
  • Cyrosurgery: the tumor is frozen and then removed by a surgeon
  • Micrographic surgery (Mohs surgery): a tissue-sparing technique that removes only the tumor
  • Precise radiation therapy: targets the cancer with precise X-ray beams to kill the cancer
  • Chemotherapy: drugs used to target the cancer and kill it
  • Access to the latest clinical trials that are advancing the ways merkel cell carcinoma is treated

Merkel Cell Carcinoma Tumor Board Review

Our disease-specific tumor board review is a treatment planning approach in which experts from different specialties review the condition and treatment options for each patient. This review process ensures that all realistic treatment options are considered. Also, we have the resources of an entire team of national experts that collaborates to guide all cancer care decisions.

Active Clinical Trials

As an academic medical centers with a research focus, UH Seidman Cancer Center specialists encourage patients to take part in skin cancer-specific clinical trials available through University Hospitals. Often, clinical trials provide new and promising treatments that are part of the cancer research process. You can review available trials with your cancer doctor to see which one may fit at your cancer type and stage.

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