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Key Statistics for Merkel Cell Carcinoma

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Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in the United States. Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a type of skin cancer, but it's not common. About 3,000 people are diagnosed with MCC in the United States each year.

The number of people diagnosed with MCC each year has been rising quickly over the past few decades. Some of this is probably because doctors have become more aware of it, and lab tests to diagnose MCC have become more accurate. But the rise in MCC might also be caused by increases in risk factors. For instance, people are living longer, and more people are living with weakened immune systems.

Most Americans diagnosed with MCC are older than age 70. And men are more likely to have it than women.

More than 9 out of 10 Americans diagnosed with MCC are White.

For survival statistics, see Survival Rates for Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

National Cancer Institute. Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment (PDQ)–Health Professional Version. 2024. Accessed at on May 28, 2024.

Paulson KG, Park SY, Vandeven NA, Lachance K, et al. Merkel cell carcinoma: Current US incidence and projected increases based on changing demographics. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018;78(3):457.

Tai P, Nghiem PT, Park SY. Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis of Merkel cell (neuroendocrine) carcinoma. UpToDate. 2024. Accessed at on May 28, 2024.

Last Revised: May 30, 2024

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