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Markus Mainka/

7. Merkel Cell Cancer

Merkel cell carcinoma in 94-year-old woman.
Klaus D. Peter, Gummersbach, Germany (CC BY 3.0 DE)

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rarer form of cancer, although experts noted a whopping 95% increase in incidence rate (how likely someone is to develop a condition) of this disease between 2000 to 2013 in the United States.

What is Merkel cell cancer?

Also known as neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, Merkel cell carcinoma occurs when Merkel cells become cancerous. Merkel cells (Merkel-Ranvier cells, tactile epithelial cells) are found in our skin and help us feel light touches and other sensations.

How deadly is this cancer?

According to SEER, prognosis (survival rate) for Merkel cell carcinoma 5 years after a diagnosis is as follows:

  • Average – 64%
  • Localized – 78%
  • Regional – 52%
  • Distant – 19%

Unlike Merkel cell cancer, the following has a much better prognosis…

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