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Eyelid Cancer: Overview, Types, Statistics and Treatment Options

When healthy cells experience transformation and spontaneous regeneration eventually forming a mass known as tumour, cancer begins taking place. A tumour can be either cancerous (malignant that can grow and spread throughout the body) or benign (tumour can grow but won’t spread).

Eyelid cancer refers specifically to the cancer which occurs on or in the Eyelid. It’s generally characterised as an epithelial tumour that is on the exterior surface. Eyelid tumour starts with sebaceous (fat), apocrine glands (sweat gland type)orabnormalsweating.


Whether or not to undergo cosmetic eye surgery would only be decided by the doctor and depends on the type of Eyelid Cancer. Most common are;

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma

Round cells also known as basal cells are located under the squamous cells (scaly, fat cells) within the lower epidermis. More than 80% occurrence of skin cancer rises from this particular layer in the skin and directly related with exposure to the sunlight. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common eyelid cancer appearing mostly in the lower eyelid and among the individuals with pale and fair skin.

  • Sebaceous Carcinoma

Occurs mostly among the individuals in their middle or older adults, sebaceous carcinoma is another most common eyelid cancer following the basal cell carcinoma. It begins from the meibomian glands of the eyelids which releases a fatty discharge thus lubricating the eyelids. In less-frequent cases, it may start from the Zeis glands that are the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes.

Sebaceous carcinoma is an aggressive form of cancer which usually occurs on the upper eyelid. It’s mostly related with significant exposure to radiation, Bowen’s disease and Muir-Torre syndrome.Sebaceous carcinoma that’s either large or returns after treatment requires surgical removal of the eye itself before it spreads.

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The top layer of the epidermis is mostly comprised of squamous cells and more or less 10-30% skin cancer begins in this layer. Such cancers usually happen die to excess sun exposure and may appear on the skin that has been burnt, damaged by chemicals or X-Ray exposed. While squamous cell carcinoma is less common than basal cell carcinoma, it’s far more aggressive with tendency to spread and affect nearby healthy tissues.

  • Melanoma

The farther-most or deepest epidermis layer contains dispersed cells known as melanocytes that produce the melanin, a pigment that gives the skin its unique colour. Melanoma begins in the melanocytes and the most serious in all the three types of skin cancer.


Skin cancer is quite common and occurrence in the eyelid is most likely where it develops. More or less 90% of all the eyelid cancers are basal cell carcinoma diagnosed mostly in the older adults between the age of 50 and 80 years.

That being said, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma is mostly curable especially if diagnosed and treated in its earliest stage. Melanoma is also curable if detected and treated early however more likely to spread across other parts of the body.

Eyelid Cancer Statistics

The decision of cosmetic eye surgery in Dubai is taken after detailed analysis and diagnosis of the eyelid cancer. We’ll explore risk factors and treatment measures in second part of the series!

Clinical trial is a research study which presents new treatment measures as well as evaluate if it’s safe, effective as compared to the standard treatment. Clinical trials test all such approaches whenever a new drug, combination to the standard treatments or new therapies is introduced. Only your doctor would help in reviewing all the possible treatment options.

Treatment overview

the team of medical professionals includefor eyelid cancer:

  • Radiation oncologist
  • Surgeon
  • Dermatologist; doctor having the expertise in different conditions and diseases of the skin
  • Ophthalmologist; medical professional specialising in the illnesses and function of the eye
  • Medical oncologist in Dubai; doctor with expertise in treating cancer through different medication

Types of surgeries

  • Biopsy

During the surgical biopsy, certain fragment of the tumour (incisional) or the entire tumour (excisional) may be removed. In case the eye cancer or tumour turns out cancerous and the eye surgeon has removed sufficient margin of healthy eye tissue, excisional biopsy might be only treatment.

  • Mohs’ surgery

This involves extracting the visible tumour and fragment of the edges where tumour is present. Each of the small fragments is then examined under a microscope unless all the cancer has been removed. Following Mohs’ surgery, a patient is likely to undergo cosmetic eye surgery either by an ophthalmologist or ocular surgeon to retain normal eye function.

  • Cryo-surgery

Cryosurgery is performed by freezing and killing the cells using liquid nitrogen. The skin then blisters and shed off. The procedure may or can be leaved behind a pale scar while patient(s) may need undergoing another freezing procedure.

  • Reconstructive therapy

Reconstructive therapy is different than cosmetic surgery in a way that it’s performed for improving the eye function as well as approximating a normal appearance. Multiple surgeries may be performed periodically. Cosmetic eye surgery in Dubai is performed on a normal structure for purpose of appearance.

Removal of the eye

Though rare, surgical removal of the eye at times is necessary for medical safety. This visual loss troubles a person with depth perception but most people would adjust to these differences, supported by the healthcare team. Prosthetic or artificial eye is fitted to fill the gap and performs much like a normal human eye. In case enucleationis required, talk to the doctor about prosthesis which usually takes a few weeks.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is performed by exposure of the cancer cells to high-frequency X-Rays thereby destroying them. Medical professional having expertise in radiation therapy fir cancer treatment is known as radiation oncologist. Most common type of radiation treatment is known as external-beam radiation therapy. There has been significant improvement in radiation therapy as a process for the treatment of eyelid cancer.


Chemotherapy is vaccinating the drugs in human blood stream to breakdown the cancer cells by stopping their ability to multiply and expand to other areas. For eyelid cancer or eye tumours, topical therapy is the most common chemotherapy in the world and applied directly on the affected skin of patient.


Given above are treatment options for eyelid cancer. Each process is determined by the doctor after detailed analysis of the patient and extracted tumour.

Please follow the link for get connected with an Oncologist

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Eyelid Cancer: Overview, Types, Statistics and Treatment Options


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