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Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Find a way forward for one of the most rare, most aggressive skin cancers.

Rare. Dangerous. Treatable.

Treatment for Merkel Cell Carcinoma in Chicago, IL

You don’t have to be a medical professional to be aware of serious health problems. Most of us are familiar with melanoma, heart disease, and diabetes. But some dangerous ailments fly under the radar so effectively that we may not know them at all. Merkel cell carcinoma is one such disease. This rare, aggressive form of skin cancer is all the more dangerous for being lesser known than squamous or basal cell carcinomas. Thankfully, treatment options exist—even for this uncommon form of cancer.

At Skin MD in Chicago, IL, we’ve assembled the brightest minds in dermatology today so that we can treat any and all skin issues—especially the most dangerous. Merkel cell carcinoma affects fewer than several thousand Americans each year, but those patients deserve the best treatment, the most compassionate care, and diverse, effective options for living a long and healthy life. To learn more about your custom treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma, contact Skin MD today.

Contact Us to Understand Your Merkel Cell Carcinoma Better.

Rare cancers can throw anyone for a loop. Coping and treatment begins with education. Let’s talk about your cancer, your symptoms, and your treatment options. Call Skin MD today.

What is Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

Like other forms of skin cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma is called after its origin in our skin’s Merkel cells. While exceedingly rare, Merkel cell carcinoma can be several times more dangerous than other common cancers, including melanoma.

As always, the first line of defense in the fight against skin cancer is vigilance at home and skin cancer screenings at a dermatologist’s office. Get your skin checked today and know for sure that you’re healthy. In the meantime, here are some facts about this dangerous skin cancer.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma Facts:

  • It’s Rare: Merkel cell carcinoma affects fewer than three thousand Americans each year.
  • It’s Dangerous: Known for growing and spreading aggressively, these tumors pose a serious threat.
  • It’s More Common in The Elderly: Adults 65 and older who have fair skin and are of European ancestry are most likely to experience the disease.
  • Its Exact Causes are Unknown: Sun exposure, a weakened immune system, viral infections, age, and fair skin are common risk factors.
  • It Has Simple Beginnings: Merkel cell carcinoma starts as a skin-colored, blue, or red nodule (hard lump) often on the face, head, neck, ears, or elsewhere.
  • It’s Treatable: When caught early enough, Merkel cell carcinoma has a survival rate of 75% within the first five years.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatments

Even rare forms of skin cancer like Merkel cell carcinoma can be effectively treated. Once detected, your dermatologist may recommend surgical treatment to excise the cancer before it spreads. If your cancer has developed past the early stages, more advanced treatments may be required to prevent complications.

Because Merkel cell carcinoma is rare, it’s important to find dermatologists with experience. At Skin MD, we can help you decide the best course of action, including the following options.

Treatments for Merkel Cell Carcinoma:

  • Surgery: First, we need to remove as much of the tumor as possible. This may be accomplished with wide excision or Mohs surgery, depending on how advanced your cancer is.
  • Radiation Therapy: External beam radiation targets only the cancerous growth for powerful, precise treatment.
  • Immunotherapy: Certain drugs can alert your immune system to dangerous cells masquerading as healthy ones. Your immune system then helps in the fight against cancer.
  • Chemotherapy: Merkel cell carcinoma is difficult to treat with chemotherapy, but certain approaches have shown promise.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for this rare skin cancer, but by combining and recombining treatments until we see improvement, the dermatologists at Skin MD can customize a treatment plan that works for you. To learn more, call us today at 708-636-3767.


Hear From Patients Who Won Against Cancer

A Caring, Human Touch

Dr. Sergeyenko is fantastic. He’s very detailed and attentive and seems to really care about patients. The office is very well run and uses the right amount of technology to execute their business…but you can always get a human on the line if you need to. Flexible hours, too.

T. Huestis
Rating: 5

Always Welcoming New Patients

It was my first appt at the Evergreen location and I was very pleased with the service and staff. I saw Dr. Chris Krippinger. He knew right away what was happening to my skin and provided a treatment plan. It’s been two weeks and I am seeing the results. I recommend Skin MD.

Rita B.
Rating: 5

Listening to Patients of All Ages

Me and my son love the excellent customer service, and care that we get here. From the front desk all the way down to the physician, they take their time to listen and provide the best care. We really appreciate everyone here.

Latisha D.
Rating: 5


Why Choose Skin MD For Treating Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment?

Family Dermatology

At Skin MD, we serve everyone. From pediatric dermatology to teens & adults, our providers treat patients of all ages with respect & expertise.

Skin Care Versatility

From acne treatments and Mohs Surgery to 21st-century cosmetic solutions like microneedling & lip fillers, we have you covered.

World-Class Providers

Our providers are leaders in their field with numerous fellowships, publications, professional memberships, & academic achievements to their names.

Multiple Locations

We serve several Chicago communities, including Orland Park, Skokie, and Evergreen Park. Find a Skin MD office near you!

Financing & Promotions

We make getting the care you need affordable with expert financing options, frequently updated promotions, & so much more.

Your Questions Answered

Merkel Cell Carcinoma FAQs

Merkel cell carcinoma most commonly starts as a painless, hard lump on sun-exposed skin, also called a nodule. These nodules may be similar in color to your skin. They may also be red or bluish-red, verging on purple. These cancerous nodules appear most frequently on the face, ears, forehead, temple, neck, or elsewhere.

If you’ve noticed an unusual or sudden skin lesion that fits this description, have it checked out today. A skin cancer screening at Skin MD in Chicago can save lives. Call 708-636-3767 today.

When detected and treated in its early stages, Merkel cell carcinoma has a high survival rate. Upwards of 75% of patients survive within the first five years. It’s important to remember that this survival rate is almost entirely predicated on early diagnosis and treatment. Regular skin cancer screenings can and do save lives.
The exact cause of Merkel cell carcinoma is unknown. Recent studies suggest a link between Merkel cell polyomavirus (a viral infection) and Merkel cell carcinoma. Further research is needed to understand this link. Additionally, we know that frequent, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can damage DNA at the cellular level, leading to mutations that become cancerous tumors.

Survive & Thrive After Merkel Cell Carcinoma

It’s natural to assume that rare diseases can’t be treated or treated easily. Thankfully, this is not the case with Merkel cell carcinoma. This form of skin cancer may be rare, aggressive, and dangerous, but it’s also susceptible to the treatments that work against melanoma and other carcinomas. Skin cancer is not unbeatable. But without an expert dermatologist on your side, cancer may just win.

At Skin MD in Chicago, IL, we’ve assembled the latest and greatest minds in skin care today. Find a skin clinic near you in Orland Park, Skokie, and Evergreen Park today.