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Eyelid Cancer Detection & Treatment Guide

The most common type of cancer that people experience is basal cell carcinomas. Thankfully, with advances in technology, eyelid surgery such as blepharoplasty can remove eye cancers easily. However, left untreated, eyelid cancers can grow around the eye and into the orbit, sometimes even into the sinuses and brain. If you or someone you know suspects that they are a victim of eyelid cancer, it is important that you visit a doctor as soon as possible. In today’s article, we look at the detection and treatment of eyelid cancer, so read on to find out more.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Some of the common signs and symptoms of eyelid cancer include the following:

  • Swelling of the eyelid
  • A change in the appearance of the eyelid
  • Chronic infection of the eyelid
  • Ulcerations that do not heal
  • Coloured mass in the eye that is spreading
  • Reddish nodule forming on the eyelid
  • Eyelash loss

Diagnosis of Eyelid Cancer

Once your eye cancer specialist suspects basal cell carcinoma, in most cases a biopsy will be suggested. This is a process where a specimen is sent to a pathologist to confirm the diagnosis prior to the removal of the cancer via surgery. Biopsies can be performed in an operating room or doctor’s office prior to any definitive treatment options.

What is The Treatment for Eyelid Cancer?

Once your diagnosis is confirmed by a pathologist, your eyelid cancer specialist will recommend the best treatment for your individual case. Your team of specialists may include a variety of different doctors that include a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, radiation oncologist and ophthalmologist.

One of the most common treatments for eyelid cancer is surgery. During surgery, the tumour along with some surrounding healthy tissue is removed. Depending on the size and location of the cancer, various surgery methods will apply. It is important that you talk with your doctor about the possible side effects of your surgery in order to prepare yourself for what is to come.

Another common surgery to remove eyelid cancer is Moh’s surgery. This is a technique that involves removing the visible cancer and small fragments of the edge of where the tumour was located. These fragments are then examined under a microscope until all the cancer has been removed. This is a procedure often used for larger tumours or recurrent cancers. After Moh’s surgery, patients may be required to undergo reconstructive eyelid surgery with a plastic surgeon.

Eyelid Cancer Prevention

There are a number of ways in which you can reduce your chances of eyelid cancer. Often, eyelid cancer affects people who have lighter skin tone as they are more prone to UV damage. Some of the ways in which you can lessen your chances of eyelid cancer include:

  • Using sunglasses when you go out
  • Avoid staring into the sun
  • Using sunscreens and moisturisers made specifically for the eye area. Always look for SPF 30 and above.
  • Using hats on sunny days to prevent UV rays from the eyes and eyelids.

It is important to know that most eyelid cancers are successfully removed and do not return or spread. As with all other cancers, it is important to always keep vigilant and on top of your health, even post-surgery. Routine check-ups with your specialist are recommended to ensure that there are no complications from surgery and no recurrence of the cancer.


We hope that this article has given you a definitive summary of eyelid cancer, from detecting it to diagnosing it and treating it. If you or your loved ones think that you may be suffering from eyelid cancer, we recommend heading to your local doctor immediately. Early detection and treatment will allow you the best chance of a full and speedy recovery.