How is radiation therapy used to treat Merkel cell carcinoma?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

In some cases, doctors may choose to treat Merkel cell carcinoma with radiation therapy. In radiation therapy, doses of high-energy rays are directed toward the cancerous growth. Radiation destroys cancer cells by damaging the cells' genetic material. This treatment is usually used after surgery to destroy any cancerous cells that may still be left after removing the tumor. Sometimes it may be used prior to surgery to shrink the tumor. It may also be used if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

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