When people think about cancer, breast cancer or prostate cancer are usually the first two that come to mind. Eyelid cancer, though not as a well-known as other forms of cancer, is one of the most common forms of skin cancer and just as dangerous as any other type. At the Eyelid Reconstruction Center of Excellence in Los Angeles, our eyelid surgeons are experts in identifying, diagnosing, and treating the various forms of eyelid cancer.
Types of Eyelid Cancers
When speaking of “eyelid cancer” it’s important to remember that the term encompasses a variety of cancer types. Eyelid cancer can occur in four forms:
Basal cell carcinoma: The most common form of eyelid cancer, basal cell carcinoma usually occurs in the lower eyelid and it related to direct exposure to the sun.
Sebaceous carcinoma: This type of cancer is the second-most common form of eyelid cancer. Normally appearing in the upper eyelid, sebaceous carcinoma is an aggressive form of cancer that mostly occurs in older individuals. If left untreated, sebaceous carcinoma may necessitate the surgical removal of the eye.
Squamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the squamous cells, which make up the top layer of skin. Usually, skin cancer is this epidermal layer is due to sun exposure, though it can also appear in skin that has been burned, damaged, or exposed to x-rays. Less common than other forms of eyelid cancer, squamous cell carcinoma is nevertheless more aggressive and can easily spread to nearby healthy tissues.
Melanoma: The most serious of the eyelid cancers, melanoma occurs in the deepest layer of the skin. It initially affects melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin.
Symptoms of Eyelid Cancer
Patients suffering from eyelid cancer can experience the following symptoms:
- Thickening or swelling of the eyelid
- A colored mass that spreads on the eyelid
- Repeated infection of the eyelid
- An non-healing ulceration on the eyelid
Keep in mind, however, that some people with eyelid cancer may not experience any of these symptoms at all. If you feel any irregularities of the eye, or if you have a family history or skin and eyelid cancer, please consult a doctor immediately. As with all forms of cancer, early detection is essential in treating the disease.
Causes of Eyelid Cancer
Eyelid cancer is primarily caused by exposure to the sun, particularly exposure to UV radiation. The same UV radiation that causes sunburns is also responsible for the development of eyelid cancer. As such, people exposed to bright sunlight on a year-round basis are more prone to the development of eyelid cancer than those who live in a cooler, less-bright environment. In addition, people who spend a significant amount of time on a tanning bed increase their risk of developing eye cancer.
Fair skin is another risk factor for developing eyelid cancer. Because lighter skin doesn’t offer as much protection against UV rays as dark skin, individuals with less melanin in their skin are more likely to develop eyelid cancer.
Lastly, age increases the risk of developing eyelid cancer. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma occur in people over the age of 50.
Schedule an Appointment at the Eyelid Center Today
If you feel as if you are a prime candidate for developing eyelid cancer, or if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms that characterize the disease, please call the Eyelid Surgery Center of Excellence at (888) 384-0981 or fill out our online form. Early detection is the key to successfully treating eyelid cancer, so please consult one of our expert surgeons today.
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