KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The death of singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett is raising questions about skin cancer, and experts at Thompson Cancer Survival Center are providing answers to spread awareness and promote prevention.
David Chism, MD and Grant Clark, MD, are sharing the top things to know about Merkel cell carcinoma.
- MCC is rare, with less than 2,500 cases per year in the USA. By comparison, around 100,000 cases of melanoma are reported yearly, and the average number of squamous/basal cell skin cancers each year hovers around five million.
- MCC is aggressive and has a high morbidity rate. Dr. Chism most commonly sees MCC in older men, those with light-toned skin, and it often develops in places on the body that receive a lot of UV light exposure. The immune-suppressed are also at a higher risk.
- MMC lesions appear a little differently than classic melanoma or squamous/basal cell skin cancer; the lesions will be firm nodules imbedded in the skin, and this type of cancer is known to grow rapidly.
- “Merkel cell carcinoma tends to be more aggressive – meaning it more often comes back around the area where it was surgically removed and it spreads more often,” Dr. Clark says. “It is still often curable if caught early, but it spreads to other parts of the body – including lymph nodes – at a quicker pace and once it has spread it can be fatal.”
- “Like with other skin cancers, and for overall skin health, using a sunscreen for prolonged sun exposure is recommended,” Dr. Clark says, adding that he prefers sunscreens that are mineral-based.
- “Avoid mid-day sun exposure and use sunscreen with reapplication as needed,” Dr. Chism says. “Protect sun-exposed areas of the skin and avoid tanning beds.”
- If you already have a history of other skin cancers such as basal cell or cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas, be especially vigilant about protecting your skin and be aware of any new growths or changes.
Read more about what our experts had to say about Merkel cell carcinoma here.
About Thompson Cancer Survival Center
For more than 30 years, Thompson Cancer Survival Center has brought world-class cancer care to East Tennessee. Our expert physicians and multidisciplinary teams use the most advanced medical technologies to achieve breakthrough treatment successes. Thompson Cancer Survival Center is a member of Covenant Health. Learn more at CovenantHealth.com/Thompson-Cancer-Survival-Center.
SOURCE Covenant Health