Merkel cell carcinoma is rare and dangerous but treatable, especially when found at an early stage.

While MCC is about three to five times more likely to be deadly than melanoma, with early detection, MCC can be treated successfully. If you think you might have MCC, see your doctor. Treatment becomes increasingly difficult once the disease has spread, but new options are now available. Thanks to advances in the field of immunotherapy, MCC survival rates are improving.

About three hundred people are diagnosed with Merkel cell cancer each year in the UK.

March 2021Avelumab is recommended by NICE as an option for treating metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma in adults who have not had chemotherapy for metastatic disease. 

Avelumab is routinely available in the NHS for treating metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma after chemotherapy. Evidence collected while avelumab was in the Cancer Drug Fund shows that it is an effective treatment for untreated disease. It shows that, compared with chemotherapy, avelumab improves how long people have before their disease progresses and how long they live.

Avelumab is considered to be a life-extending treatment at the end of life.