Also known as the “Big C,” cancer can be difficult to talk about. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life and it can impact the body in many ways. Cancers located in the eye are also known as ocular cancers: intraocular if it affects the inside of the eye; extraocular if it affects the outside. Read on for the Vision Gallery’s crash course in ocular cancer and be sure to contact your eye doctor immediately if you are experiencing any eye or vision health problems.
WHERE DOES OCULAR CANCER OCCUR?
The eyes, eyelids, orbit and optic nerve are all susceptible to developing cancerous cells. While quite rare, melanoma and lymphoma of the eye have extremely serious consequences. There are even more rare forms of ocular cancer that most often occur in children, as well as other variations.
MELANOMA OF THE EYE
Melanocytes are cells that control pigment and colouration– most commonly associated with skin and lips, they also occur on the lining of organs such (eyes, for example). When these cells mutate and become cancerous it is called melanoma of the eye. There are further classifications of this type based on the size and shape of the cancer cells. Diagnosis of this condition requires close examination by a medical professional.
LYMPHOMA OF THE EYE
Lymph nodes are anchors of your immune system and the points of origin of lymphoma cancers. Very rarely in those with immune disorders, lymphoma can develop in the eye. This variety is non-Hodgkin lymphoma and, as with other cancers, requires careful treatment by your doctor and cancer specialists.
OCULAR CANCER IN CHILDREN
Retinoblastoma and medulloepithelioma are two types of rare cancers that occur in children. They are both types of tumours of varying seriousness. Retinoblastoma has a high success rate of being cured– lasers, freezing and burning temperatures or occasionally chemotherapy are common treatments. Medulloepithelioma usually requires surgery, depending on the size of the tumour– this can sometimes require full removal of the eye.
OTHER TYPES OF OCULAR CANCER
- Cancer of the conjunctiva (squamous cell cancer);
- Basel cell cancer;
- Soft tissue sarcoma;
- Secondary eye cancers (spreads from elsewhere).
There are many symptoms of these conditions and a positive diagnosis can only be delivered by a professional medical practicioner. If you have any worries, concerns or family history of the above, consult with an eye doctor immediately. Our experienced staff is waiting to help you address these fears– we are dedicated to keeping you and your family healthy for years to come.