Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC)

Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer that has recently been receiving more attention due to its increasing prevalence. It is caused by the Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) and has a high rate of recurrence and metastasis. While the exact cause is unknown, exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds, a weak immune system, old age, and genetics are thought to increase a person’s risk of developing MCC.

Symptoms of Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC)

The signs and symptoms of metastatic MCC vary and can include the following:

  • AX small bump on the skin that may appear colorless or blue
  • A rapidly growing lump that may appear waxy, flesh-toned, pink, red, or purple
  • A persistent sore, lump, or ulcer on the skin that does not heal
  • A mole that changes in size, color, texture, or other characteristics
  • Itchiness, tenderness, or pain in the area of the lump

Diagnosis and Treatment of Metastatic MCC

A diagnosis of metastatic MCC is made through a biopsy of the suspicious area on the skin, and is confirmed with CT scans and other imaging tests. Treatment options may include a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, or surgery, depending on the stage of the cancer.

Prevention of Metastatic MCC

Prevention is the best way to reduce your risk of developing MCC. The following steps can help protect you from developing this rare, aggressive form of cancer:

  • Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher every day, even on cloudy days.
  • Avoid or limit your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, when in the sun.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Perform monthly self-exams, looking for any new or unusual skin growths, lesions, and changes.

While MCC is still a rare form of skin cancer, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms as well as ways to prevent the disease. Early detection is key to ensuring the best possible outcome.