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Merkel

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Merkel

by jktzak on Wed Jun 20, 2018 06:09 PM

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Mother in law was just diagnosed with Merkel cancer on her nose. Very very small dot on nose. She is 95 years old. What if any course of action should she be taking? They are already talking radiation, plastic surgery and they’re going to do a pet scan soon. Is this appropriate for someone of her age? Thank you.

RE: Merkel

by Rhondared on Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:40 PM

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Merkel cell carcinoma is a VERY aggressive, malignant cancer. Melanoma and Merkel cell are the two most deadly skin cancers. The estimates range from 500 to 1,500 cases per year in the USA. That is important because the first surgeon who cut on my husband said he had never seen a case before. In fact, he said there probably wasnt a doctor in the entire city who had dealt with a case. Husband called and old friend and he said he had been in practice 35 years and only seen two cases. Dont be surprised if they want a MRI and CT scan after the PET scan is done. The surgery and radiation are standard recommendations. Radiation comes with risks also, such as loss of teeth, etc. The most important thing to determine from the scans is if it has spread to the lymph nodes already. If it has spread to lymph nodes then there is a 70 percent chance of reoccurence regardless of doing the the surgery and radiation. Radiation has been found to be much more effective on Merkel than chemo. My best advice to you is get an ocologist who is a Merkel Cell specialist. Time is everything with Merkel. Some articles will tell you the tumors can double in size every 5 days. At 95 that is her decision on course of action. If it was confined to the speck on her nose the outcomes could be very positive with following their protocol. I am not in the medical profession just going on our info from doctors and what we have read. Best of luck to your family.

RE: Merkel

by jktzak on Sun Jun 24, 2018 03:45 PM

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Thank you for your reply. Mother in law is a healthy 95 year old, as 95 year olds go....but she doesn’t want to loose quality of life she has right now . Hard to know how aggressive she should be at this age. If minimal treatment, what would life be like for next few years if she stays healthy otherwise. Hard decisions. Thank you!
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