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Merkel cell carcinoma – causes, side effects and treatments at

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 by

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare skin cancer, which usually occurs in individuals in their late 60s. It most commonly occurs in the head and neck area, but generally occurs in sun-exposed parts of the body.

The tumor affects men more than women, and most affected individuals are Caucasians. It is very rare among the African-American population.

MCC can be fatal without immediate treatment.

MCC is also known by the following names:

  • Cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • Primary small cell carcinoma of skin
  • Trabecular skin carcinoma

Known symptoms, risk factors for Merkel cell carcinoma

Some of the signs and symptoms of MCC include:

  • A single, painless dome-shaped nodule. Sometimes the nodule may have a plaque with a reddish discoloration.
  • The nodule is not itchy, but it grows rapidly. In just a matter of few weeks or months, the tumor is large enough to be readily noticeable.
  • The most common areas of skin that are affected with MCC are the head and neck areas, as well as the arms, and legs.

An individual is highly likely to have MCC with the following risk factors:

  • Sun exposure
  • HIV and AIDS affected individuals
  • Solid organ (kidney, heart, lung, and liver) transplant patients
  • Individuals who remain immunodeficient for long periods of time, such as those with autoimmune disorders

Body systems harmed by Merkel cell carcinoma

MCC can progress and result in some complications, such as:

  • Spreading to distant organs (metastasis)
  • Recurrence of MCC at the primary site after initial surgery

MCC is considered an aggressive type of cancer, and can rapidly spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, lungs, and brain. Metastatic cancer is difficult to treat and has a high mortality rate.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent Merkel cell carcinoma

Prevent skin cancer by adding more of the following to your daily diet:

  • Organic produce — Dark green and orange/yellow fruits and vegetables are great for keeping the skin healthy. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale; leafy greens, like spinach, beet leaves, and collard greens; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits are some excellent examples.
  • Fish — Enjoy more fish for a healthy skin. Shellfish and fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout) have anti-inflammatory action due to omega-3 fatty acids that may double your melanoma protection.
  • Herbs — Adding a dash of herbs to your favorite dishes not only makes your food more flavorful but also helps fortify your skin.
  • Tea — The polyphenol antioxidants in green and black teas inhibit the proteins necessary for skin cancer to develop.
  • Wine — Study shows that people who drank a glass of wine every couple of days on average — red, white, or bubbly — reduced their rate of developing actinic keratoses (those precancerous skin patches or growths) by 27 percent.

Other anti-cancer nutrients and their food sources include:

  • Beta-carotene: Carrots, squash, mangoes, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes
  • Lutein: Collard greens, spinach, kale
  • Lycopene: Tomatoes, watermelon, guava, apricots
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, some meats and breads
  • Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes, milk, egg yolks, mozzarella
  • Vitamin C: Many fruits and berries, cereals, fish
  • Vitamin E: Almonds and other nuts; many oils, including safflower and corn

Treatments, management plans for Merkel cell carcinoma

Manage skin cancer with the some of these home remedies:

  • Bloodroot
  • Cat’s claw extract
  • Chamomile and lavender oils
  • Citrus oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Eggplant extract
  • Flaxseeds
  • Iodine solution
  • Red clover
  • Sandalwood oil and ice packs

Where to learn more


Sources include:


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