Merkel Cell Skin Cancer

Know More About Merkel Cell Skin Cancer

Merkel cell cancer is a rarely occurring cancer of the skin that appears in the form of a red or red bluish flesh colored area on the skin. It usually appears on the head, face, or neck. It is also known as neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin. Most commonly, this type of cancer has been diagnosed more in eldely people. It is a rare and aggressive form of the cancer. It originates and spreads quickly to other parts of the body.


  • Generally, the mutations in the DNA of the normal and healthy cells lead to rapid multiplication of the cells. The Merkel cells turn cancerous in nature and lead to the formation of tumors in the body. The merkel cells are found at the base of epidermis that connect to the nerve ending responsible for the touch sensation.
  • A virus named Merkel cell polyomavirus has been discovered by the scientists recently that plays a major role in the development of the Merkel cell skin cancer diseases.
  • Apart fom this, exposure to natural or artificial sunlight in excess increases the risk of getting hit with the merkel cell skin carcinoma. If an individual is suffering from HIV infection, it leads to weakness of immune system that increases the chances of cancer.
  • If someone has a family history of merkel cell skin cancer or any other type, the chances of its development are increased. In the case of light skin color too, the chances of developing Merkel cell skin cancer are enhanced.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms witnessed by the merkal cell skin cancer patients are:

  • Appearance of a painless nodule on the skin
  • The nodule is often skin colored or in the shades of blue, red, or purple
  • Nodules can appear on any part of the skin
  • Bump or mole shaped structure may change in color, shape, or size
  • Bleeding while shaving or washing
  • With increasing age, the chances of its development are increased


The diagnosis of the cancer situation can done using various methods:

Physical Examination

The primary method of diagnosis remains to be a physical examination of the patient. During this time, the doctor will look for any freckles, uneven moles, any abnormal growth, or skin pigmentations if any.

Skin Biopsy

During this procedure, the doctor takes a sample of the suspected area and removes some cells or tissues from it. The sample collected is then analyzed in the laboratory under a microscope to check if the growth of the cells is cancerous or not.

Sentinel node biopsy

The sentinel node biopsy is performed when the doctor wants to check if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes as well. A dye is usually injected near the infected area through the lymphatic system. The first lymph nodes that receive the dye and use it are termed sentinel nodes and removed through surgical procedures.

Imaging Techniques

The imaging tests like CT scan and chest Xrays are performed by the technicians to get detailed images of the internal organs. It is done to check if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body or not. A positron emission tomography can also be performed to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body as well.

Side effects of the treatments

Chemotherapy can lead to issues like

  • Loss of hair
  • Increased vulnerability to infection
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Changes in the appetite
  • Constipation issues
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Lowered red blood cell count

Radiotherapy can cause health problems like

  • Fatigue
  • Changes with skin color and texture
  • Blurred vision
  • Issues while focusing or concentrating
  • Memory dysfunction
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

Immunotherapy can lead to issues like

  • Weakness in the body
  • A feeling of dizziness
  • Frequent chills
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Headache and fever

Surgery for merkel cell skin cancer can result in

  • Numbness due to nerve damage
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Easy bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Bruising and swelling near affected area
  • Lymphedema
  • Fatigue and weakness


The various treatments available for merkel cell skin cancer are:


While performing the surgery, the doctor removes the tumor from the affected area of the skin and takes some amount of cells from the border of the normal skin as well. The lymph nodes dissection is performed when the nearby lymph nodes are also affected by the cancer infection. Usually, a scalpel is used to perform the surgery.

In the cases of Mohs Surgery, some of the tissues from a thin layer are taken methodically and are viewed under the microscope. This sample is examined for the presence of cancerous cells. If the presence of tumors is confirmed, thus procedure is repeated until a normal and healthy layer of cells is visible under the microscope.

Radiation therapy

During a Radiation therapy, the doctor uses high energy beams like xrays or the protons to target the cancer cells and destroy them. During the procedure, the patient is made to lie on a platfrom and the machine containing radioactive materials is moved around the body. It reaches out to cancer cells in the body and helps in their destruction. Another method is that a small device is placed inside the body and it keeps on radiating the energy beams to kill the cancer cells.


During the Immunotherapy, the doctor injects certain drugs and medications that can boost the immune system of the body and lead to fighting with the cancer cells. Generally, when the disease has spread to most of the body parts, this technique is administered by the specialists.


This treatment uses certain drugs or chemicals that are injected into the human body. A special dye reaches out to cancer cells present anywhere in the body and kills them instantly. This price6can be used either individually or in combination with other treatments like surgery. Chemotherapy can be administered in the form of pills or through a vein in fhe arm or both. It can be recommended when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and other major parts of the body.

Why opt for Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a branch of medial sciences that deals with natural ways of healing. It uses various therapies, oils, massages, dietary and lifestyle changes that can lead to boosting the immunity of human body and builds its resistance to the diseases and infections.

It believes in dealing with the root cause of the disease and not just suppressing it for a short duration of time. The Ayurvedic approach to deal with the issues does not cause any side effects. The professionals have been working for years in this field and have been able to help patients get rid of the infections.

Turmeric is an ayurvedic herb that is known to have healing properties for issues related to the skin. It has a main element called curcumin that is known to help in limiting the growth of the cancer cells. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps in boosting the immunity of the body and elimination of free radicals.

Ashwagandha is also known to alleviate the growth of cancer cells in the body and is considered to be a beneficial herb for the cancer patients. The herbal products are made in such a manner that they do not offer any side effects to the body. The Ayurvedic treatments also reduce the inflammation as well as oxidative damage to the skin.