Eyelid Skin Cancers
In addition to treating your vision, your ophthalmologist can also diagnose skin cancers in the eye area.
You probably know that visiting a dermatologist for skin checks yearly is vital to your health. At these appointments, your skin specialist will check your entire body for changes in your existing moles or new abnormalities. But did you know that your ophthalmologist also checks your skin for irregularities? Dr. Mary Szatkowski, who operates an ophthalmology practice in Chicago, Illinois checks each of her patient's eyelids and nearby areas for skin cancers. She wants to make her patients aware of this problem, its warning signs and the preventative measures they can take.
Eyelid cancer types
The majority of skin cancers that your Chicago ophthalmologist finds are basal cell carcinomas, cancerous growths that start in the top layer of the skin, usually as a result of sun exposure. Squamous cell carcinomas are occasionally found as well; these cancers are more invasive. Only about 5% of cancers found in the eyelid area are melanomas, which can be fatal if they are ignored and left to spread into other systems in the body.
Eyelid cancer signs and treatment
Although they can appear anywhere in the eye area, most (44%) of eyelid skin cancers are found on the lower eyelid. Others tend to grow on the medial canthus (the space in between the eye and nose) and the eyebrow. Most of the time, eyelid skin cancers present as a mass that is scar-like in appearance and texture, or an ulceration (a sore that heals slowly or not at all). These are all signs that Dr. Szatkowski has been trained to recognize, diagnose and treat accordingly at her Chicago ophthalmology practice. This usually involves removing the cancerous tissue using a microscopic surgical device (Mohs surgery).
Eyelid cancer prevention
Prevention of eyelid skin cancers includes wearing high-quality sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Using SPF15 or higher moisturizer with sunscreen is also helpful; your Chicago ophthalmologist advises you check the label and make sure that it is safe to apply around your sensitive eye area.
If you have further questions or concerns about eyelid skin cancer, please contact Dr. Szatkowski's ophthalmology practice in Chicago for an evaluation.