Skin cancer can occur anywhere on the skin, but usually on sun-exposed areas. The face, including your eyelids, is a common area to be exposed. Too much exposure to sunlight is the single most common cause of skin cancer. Skin cancers usually appear as painless bumps or nodules. There may be ulcerations of the area, bleeding, crusting, and distortion of the skin. Oftentimes, cancer can appear very benign. As a result, it is important to have any suspicious areas biopsied to determine whether skin cancer is present.
How is Eyelid Cancer Treated?
Treatment of skin cancer on or near the eyelids involves the complete removal of the cancer. Sometimes the cancer can extend under the skin surface, and its true borders can be much larger than they appear. It is very important to remove all of the cancerous tissue to decrease the likelihood of a recurrence or spread of the cancer. There is a surgical technique called MOHS surgery (done by a specialty dermatologist) that is often used to remove skin cancers. Following the removal of the cancer, the eyelid will need to be reconstructed. This is important not only for the area to look normal, but to function normally as well.
The area surrounding the eyes is an area with complicated structures that lie beneath the skin surface such as tear ducts, muscles, tendons and support structures for the eyelids. The goal of the surgical reconstruction is to preserve the function of the eyelid, to protect the eye and to obtain the best cosmetic appearance possible. Dr. Howard works very closely with the MOHS surgeon to ensure the cancer is completely removed and the area is reconstructed properly.
Early detection of skin cancer is an important factor in its treatment. Be sure to discuss any eyelid lesions, no matter how “normal” they may seem, with your doctor.