How is Merkel cell carcinoma treated?

The skin cancer specialists at Miami Cancer Institute are internationally renowned experts who offer the most advanced, innovative therapies available to treat your specific kind of cancer.

Immediately after diagnosis, our specialty teams provide additional tests to determine if the cancer has affected other areas of the body.

Every patient’s disease is unique, with different cells moving, changing or multiplying based on that person’s individual genetic makeup. In addition to locating the tumor cells and determining what the genetic changes and markers are, other ways our specialists can create the best treatment plan for you is also to factor in age, overall health, family history, medical history and finally, to stage the cancer, which helps identify how far the disease has progressed.

Immediately after diagnosis, our specialty teams provide additional tests to determine if the cancer has affected other areas of the body. Treatment recommendations are made that same day so that patients can receive the best individualized treatment therapies as soon as possible.

Your personalized treatment plan may include:

Surgery — Every patient’s cancer is unique, so your specialists at Miami Cancer Institute will discuss what surgical option might be best for you.

Radiation Therapy — As the only cancer center in the world to offer all of the latest radiation therapy technologies under one roof, Miami Cancer Institute is also home to South Florida’s first state-of-the-art proton therapy center. Proton therapy delivers less radiation dosage to normal tissues near the tumor, which can often reduce treatment side effects. It can also enable our experts to give a higher treatment dose to the tumor safely, further improving the ability to destroy tumor cells.

Chemotherapy — Chemotherapy drugs destroy cancer cells and control their growth, and they may be used as part of the treatment plan. Chemotherapy can be combined with other treatments either to shrink tumors before surgery or radiation or to ensure all cancer cells have been eliminated following other treatment therapies. In most cases, chemotherapy is given intravenously (through an IV) through a thin tube called a catheter, which is inserted into a vein.

Targeted Therapies — Our specialists use drugs or other select substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells, blocking their growth and spread. The goal of targeted therapy is to interfere with genes or proteins involved in tumor growth while avoiding damage to healthy cells.

Targeted therapy is the foundation of precision medicine , which uses information about a person’s genes or a tumor’s DNA profile to develop innovative, tailored treatment options.

Treatment can be delivered orally, intravenously or by another mode – specific to you and your cancer type. Targeted therapy may also be combined with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

Immunotherapy — Your Miami Cancer Institute cancer specialist may use certain drugs to assist your immune system’s ability to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells, blocking their growth and spread.

Immunotherapy is delivered intravenously and is usually very well tolerated. It may also be combined with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Clinical Trials — Miami Cancer Institute offers South Florida patients and our communities access to leading-edge, innovative treatments that often result in new therapies not available elsewhere and that can often mean excellent outcomes for patients.

Tumor Board

Tumor Board

A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care. Bone Marrow Transplant experts and hematologic oncology experts are also available to discuss complex cases.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.

There’s a lot of excitement about new options to treat neuroendocrine tumors like Merkel cell carcinoma.
Ramon Jimenez, M.D.
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Patient Support Services

Patient Support Services

Designed for Healing, Wellness and Recovery

Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.