Eye Cancer (Basal-cell Carcinoma)

+6011-3432 1333

Eye Cancer (Basal-cell Carcinoma)

 +6011-3432 1333

Basal cell carcinoma is a type of malignant skin cancer which affects sun exposed part of our skin. This type of cancer unlike other malignant cancers, grows slowly and rarely spreads to other organs. However, if it involves the eye it has a potential to completely destroy eyeilds and may even grow into the socket of the eye and brain leading to death.

Symptoms

About 85 per cent of BCCs occur on the face, head (scalp included), and neck while others appear on the trunk or extremities. Rarely do they occur on the hands. 

Features of BCC tumors include the following:

  •  Painless lump on the eyelid
  •  Occasional bleeding
  •  A skin ulcer which never heals
  •  Oozing or crusted areas
  •  Loss of eye lashes around the lump
  •  Slow growing
  •  May have black-blue or brown areas 

Diagnosis

If the growth is affecting the eyelid region, it is best to see an oculoplastic surgeon for a thorough assessment.

Given that BCC rarely spreads to distant organs, laboratory and imaging studies are not commonly needed in patients presenting with localized lesions. Imaging studies may be necessary when the inner corner of the eyelid is involved as this location is often associated with deeper spread of the tumour. A biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Surgical removal is the gold standard treatment option.  Following excision of the tumour by an oculoplastic surgeon, the eyelid wound is repaired and reconstructed with skin grafts and skin flaps. For patietns who is unfit for surgery, freezing treatment (cryotheraphy),  topical application of chemotherapeutic, radiotheraphy and immune-modulating agents may be useful in some cases of BCC.

Risk

The following will increase your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma:

  • Excessive exposure ot ultraviolet rays
  • Exposure to sun during childhood and adolescence is the major determinant of life-time potential of developing skin cancer. Intense intermittent exposure to sun is associated with a higher risk of BCC than is a similar degree of daily exposure.

Skin Types
Patients with a fair complexion are at greater risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.

Chronically weakened immune system
Due to underlying infection for example HIV infection and patients on immunosupprsion drugs are also at risk.

Lifestyle
Smoking and frequent user of sun bed for skin tanning are also at risk.

Previous scars
Basal cell carcinomas can also arise from skin scars, particularly following burns.

Conclusion

It is best to avoid excessive exposure to intense UV light, by using sun protection cream, uv filtering glasses, wearing hats and long sleeves shirts. It is important to stop smoking. It is also important to seek immediate medical attention should you notice a non resolving lump over the eyelid. This is because prevention is better than cure; and early treatment saves eyes.

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