How do medications treat Merkel cell carcinoma?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Usually, medications are only used to treat Merkel cell carcinoma that has started to spread throughout the body. Doctors will usually begin treatment by surgically removing the tumor and, sometimes, the nearby lymph nodes. Then, if the cancer has spread, doctors may recommend chemotherapy. This treatment involves medications that may be taken by mouth, injected, or applied directly to the skin. These strong medications destroy the cancerous cells or slow the spread of the cancer.

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