Merkel cell carcinoma is uncommon, frequently aggressive, and best detected early

Posted in , , , by Miss Kornelija Dedelaite

First, there’s good news: there are very few cases of Merkel cell cancer. In the United Kingdom, there were just over 1,500 cases between 1999 and 2008. However, this uncommon skin cancer may not always be detected at first. This is concerning since it frequently metastasizes, or spreads to other body parts like the lungs and bones, at an early stage.

The following information will help you understand Merkel cell skin cancer, including its symptoms, where it originates, who is at risk of developing it, how to be identified and treated, and most importantly, what you can do to help prevent it.

Where and how does Merkel cell cancer start?

Merkel cells are small, oval-shaped skin cells that are located in the skin’s outermost layer. They aid in the perception of touch when viewed in close proximity to nerve endings.

These cells sporadically start to proliferate uncontrolled, forming clumps of malignant cells. Usually, the tumours appear on exposed sun-exposed areas including the face, neck, and back of the hand.

However, exposure to the sun isn’t the sole cause. In almost 80% of instances, a virus known as the Merkel cell polyomavirus, or MCV, is suspected to be the cause of this cancer. Ageing both contributes to and raises the risk of this malignancy.

What does Merkel cell cancer look like?

It frequently grows quickly and manifests as a reddish or purplish lump on the skin. The majority of folks don’t feel any pain or itching.

Regretfully, the tumour cells have the potential to metastasize to many bodily organs, such as the brain, lungs, bones, and extracutaneous tissues. Since metastases are present in over half of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma at the time of diagnosis, this could happen early.

Who is most likely to develop Merkel cell cancer?

The following variables raise the risk of Merkel cell cancer:

  • Age over 65
  • fair skin
  • excessive UV radiation exposure from sunshine or tanning beds
  • family or personal history of skin cancer
  • gender (men are more than twice as likely to be afflicted as women)

Individuals with weaker immune systems are also more susceptible to this type of cancer since they:

  • take medications that suppress the immune system, such as large amounts of steroids.
  • have certain medical conditions, such as HIV or blood disorders.
  • have received organ transplants and require immunosuppressive medications.

What preventive measures are there?

  • Keep the sun off of your skin. Put on clothes that shields your arms, legs, and trunk from the sun. Hats with wide brims help shield your face, neck, and scalp. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to all exposed skin on a regular basis.
  • Avoid using tanning beds. They raise the risk of skin cancer development.
  • If you or a family member (parent, sibling, kid) has ever had skin cancer, schedule a routine skin examination with your dermatologist.
  • If you observe any changes to your skin, let your dermatologist or medical team know. Every new lump, bump, or mole needs to be examined.

How do you check for Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

A dermatologist will take a tiny sample of the skin lesion to examine under a microscope if they believe you have Merkel cell cancer or another type of skin cancer. If skin cancer is the lesion, this technique will confirm it.

What is the treatment for Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

The location, size, and extent of the tumour all influence the course of treatment. By removing lymph nodes close to the tumour and using scans, that can be ascertained.

If the tumour has not spread, it may be surgically removed together with a margin of healthy skin surrounding it.

Radiation therapy is an option if cancer cells have spread to other bodily parts. Although chemotherapy is not as effective as radiation therapy, it may still be suggested. In certain circumstances, immunotherapy is an additional option. It can assist the immune system in identifying and eliminating cancer cells.

Prevention at Echelon Health

Even though genetics are out of your control, by adhering to all advised medical testing and vaccination schedules, you can reduce your risk of acquiring numerous diseases. Even if you’re in good health, it’s advisable to schedule regular check-ups with a healthcare specialist.

The Platinum Assessment provided by Echelon Health is notable for its capacity to identify a broad variety of illnesses and ailments. Their evaluation, which makes use of state-of-the-art technology, takes a comprehensive look at your health and includes:

  • Cancers such as breast cancer, bowel cancer, prostate cancer and more.
  • Diseases of the circulatory system including Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease, aortic aneurysms and more.
  • Diseases of the digestive system including liver disease, Gallbladder, Biliary Tract, Pancreatic disease, Diverticular disease.

The full list of scans that are included in the Platinum Assessment is as follows:

  • Blood Test
  • ECG
  • CT Aorta
  • CT Heart
  • CT Coronary Angiogram
  • CT Chest
  • CT Abdomen
  • CT Pelvis
  • CT Virtual Colonoscopy
  • CT Bone Density
  • EOS
  • CT Upright Skeleton
  • MRI Brain
  • MRI Cerebral Artery Angiogram
  • MRI Carotid Artery Angiogram
  • MRI Prostate
  • Ultrasound Thyroid
  • Ultrasound Testes/Ovaries
  • Digital Mammogram
  • Full Body Mole Screen

You may take advantage of the power of early detection and state-of-the-art technology by selecting a reliable supplier such as Echelon Health. A higher quality of life can be ensured by early intervention, which can greatly improve the results for numerous diseases.

With private health checkups, you may make an investment in your well-being, give your health top priority, and start a proactive self-care path. You can create the foundation for a healthier and happier future by taking charge of your health today. Prevention is always preferable to treatment.

Please get in touch with us if you would want to talk about any health-related issues! Our staff will be happy to assist you with any inquiries you may have or to begin the process of your health evaluation with us.