Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare non-melanoma skin cancer. It can develop in the merkel cells, which are found in the deepest areas of the epidermis and hair follicles. Merkel cells are related to nerve function and production of hormones. MCC generally spreads quickly, and develops in areas often exposed to the sun (head, neck, arms, and legs), but can occur anywhere on the body. Once the cancer starts to metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body, it becomes metastatic MCC.  MCC is sometimes referred to as neuroendocrine skin cancer or trabecular carcinoma.

MCC generally manifests in a non-painful firm, raised bump on the skin, which may be red or purple in colour. As MCC spreads more bumps may appear nearby, and swelling may occur in the lymph nodes.

Source: Canadian Cancer Society, “Merkel Cell Carcinoma“. 
Watch our informative video about merkel cell carcinoma here.


Merkel Cell Carcinoma: From Diagnosis to Treatment

Hear Dr. Marco Iafolla, Medical Oncologist at William Osler Health System, review the latest news, clinical data and other updates as they relate to the treatment of merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).  Dr. Iafolla provides an update on the science behind primary and metastatic MCC diagnosis, an overview of the disease features, staging and prognostication, surgery and treatment options including immuno-oncology for MCC, and the impact of all of this to patients. (Rec. Nov. 27, 2019)

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Additional Resources 

Click here to view all of the latest MCC news and information from this group of physicians and researchers leading the fight against MCC in the United States.  Learn about the disease, find a specialist in your area, and connect with a community of support with other MCC patients and their caregivers. Read more>>

Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy advances treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma,

July 14, 2020 Read more>>

NCCN® Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology:

 Merkel Cell Carcinoma, v 1.2022 – Nov. 17, 2021

Press Release:

Save Your Skin Foundation Applauds Health Canada’s Approval of BAVENCIO™ (avelumab for injection) for the treatment of metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)

February 2018

Health Canada has approved BAVENCIO™ (avelumab for injection) for the treatment of metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) in previously treated adults. BAVENCIO is the first Health Canada approved treatment for patients with metastatic MCC, a rare and aggressive type of skin cancer.

Oncologist Dr. John Walker, from the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, AB says,“This approval represents an important breakthrough for metastatic MCC patients and their healthcare teams, who until now had no options beyond chemotherapy or enrolment in clinical trials.”

Read more>>

NOTE: The information on the Save Your Skin website is not intended to replace the medical advice of a doctor or healthcare provider. While we make every effort to ensure that the information on our site is as current as possible, please note that information and statistics are subject to change as new research and studies are published. 


Making awareness and education available is crucial. Since 2006, the Foundation has worked to raise awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers focusing on education, prevention and the need for improved patient care.