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Treatment plans for Merkel cell carcinoma vary based on the stage of cancer and your overall health. Because this type of skin cancer has a high risk of recurring (coming back) after treatment, we deliver comprehensive follow-up care and monitor your health for signs of recurrence.
What We Offer for Merkel Cell Skin Cancer
Specialized expertise in treating all stages of MCC using a multispecialty approach.
Advanced treatment options, including immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and innovative surgical techniques.
Highly skilled team, including cutaneous oncologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and specialized dermato-oncologists who work together to deliver targeted treatments and expert care.
Clinical trials that offer early access to groundbreaking therapies that aren’t available at other cancer centers.
Comprehensive Cancer Care Services to address your physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs.
Convenient access to radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other treatments and services throughout the Bay Area.
Connect to Care
Let us help find personalized care options for you and your family.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely, and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!
Treating this rare type of skin cancer requires a high level of expertise. At Stanford Health Care, our experienced team is skilled at using the latest treatments and innovative therapies. We work with you to determine the most appropriate plan based on several factors:
Size and location of the original tumor
Whether the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of your body
Your age, health history, preferences, and goals
Your individualized treatment plan may include:
Surgery is a standard treatment for MCC. Doctors use several types of surgery to treat this cancer, including:
Excisional surgery (wide excision): The surgeon removes the tumor, the underlying tissue, and skin around the tumor. They send the tissues to a lab to confirm that they removed all of the cancerous cells.
Reconstructive surgery: You may choose to have reconstructive surgery to restore function and appearance after your doctor removes a tumor. Your care team will discuss your reconstructive surgery options with you.
These drugs destroy cancer cells or help your body fight them. You may take medications to treat MCC by mouth, injection, or infusion, and you may need them along with other treatments. Cancer drugs include:
• Immunotherapy: These innovative medications help your body’s immune system fight disease. Our team uses a type of immunotherapy called immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat MCC. These drugs enable your immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
Radiation therapy often works well to treat MCC. This treatment uses high-energy X-rays and other types of radiation to destroy or shrink cancerous cells. Your doctor will likely recommend radiation therapy along with other treatments, such as surgery and cancer medications. Your team will explain the radiation procedures and recommend the right one for you. Types of radiation therapy include:
External radiation (external beam therapy): This painless treatment uses a machine to send high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells. The radiation destroys the cancer while sparing healthy surrounding tissue.