What is the prognosis for Merkel cell carcinoma patients?

Prognosis describes the likely course and outcome of a disease - that is, the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence. The prognosis for Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) patients depends greatly on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. If the tumor is small (less than 2 cm or about ¾ inch) and cancer cells have not spread to the lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is more than 90 percent. Patients with MCC that has spread to the lymph nodes have a 5-year survival rate of about 50 percent. Overall 5-year survival for patients diagnosed with MCC is 64 percent, but half of patients with advanced MCC will live only 9 months. The disease recurs in about 50 percent of patients. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these statistics are averages based on large numbers of patients. Statistics cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient because each person's situation is unique.

This answer is based on source informationfrom the National Cancer Institute