Increasing incidence of rare skin cancer

Source: Science Daily, February 2018

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer, affecting only a few thousand people each year, compared to tens of thousands with melanoma. But while it may not be as common as other skin cancers, MCC is highly aggressive and often deadly — and it’s also becoming more common, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and presented at the American Academy of Dermatology 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego.
“MCC is rare, but our research shows that it’s becoming less rare,” says board-certified dermatologist Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD, FAAD, head of the division of dermatology and George F. Odland Endowed Chair in Dermatology at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Compared to melanoma, MCC is much more likely to be fatal, so it’s important for people to be aware of it.”
Because melanoma incidence has been increasing over the last few decades, Dr. Nghiem and his colleagues suspected that MCC incidence was increasing as well. After examining data from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER-18 registry, they found that it was increasing even more than they had anticipated.
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