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Eyelid and Facial Cancer

What are the types of eyelid and facial cancers?

There are four cancers that may be found on the eyelids: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and sebaceous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common eyelid cancer and sun exposure is the largest risk factor.

What are the signs that a skin lesion could be cancerous?

Any suspicious lesion on or near your eyelid should be examined by a physician. There are several warning signs that are suggestive for cancer. These include the “ABCDEs:”

  • Asymmetry
  • Borders are irregular
  • Color variation: More than one color
  • Diameter: Size is greater than a pencil eraser (6 mm)
  • Evolution: Anything new ie growth, bleeding or itching

How are cancerous lesions treated?

Your physician will take a biopsy of the suspicious lesion and send it to a laboratory for examination. Usually removal is performed in the office using a local anesthetic. Other cases require the equipment and safety of an operating room. After the lesion is removed, you will likely be asked to apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

If it turns out to be cancer and if not all of it was removed during the biopsy, it will be necessary to go back to surgery and excise all the tissue invaded by the cancer.

Once all the cancer has been meticulously excised, you may need one or more additional procedures to reconstruct the eyelid and restore its normal function. In rare cases, it may be necessary to work with other physicians such as dermatologists or oncologists to ensure sufficient and complete treatment.