Cancer: Itchy eyelid could be a sign of eye cancer – sufferer’s first noticeable symptom
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Eye cancer describes the abnormal growth of cells that develops in parts of the eye. Certain parts of the eye are more likely to get cancer than others. There are different types of this diagnosis and they depend on the type of cell the cancer starts in.
The case of the 47-year-old eventually diagnosed with melanoma was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Eye melanoma happens when the pigment-producing cells in your eyes divide and multiply too rapidly.
This process then results in a lump of tissue known as a tumour, the NHS explains.
The woman started having problems with eyelid itching two weeks before she sought medical help.
An initial examination of her eye in August spotted something poking from under her right eyelid.
This was the first indication that something was wrong.
Doctors then performed an eyelid eversion, which describes a procedure in which the eyelid is lifted and the patient has to look downward.
This process found a pigmented lesion on top of her eye that combined pink and black colours.
This lesion was found growing on the palpebral conjunctiva, a clear membrane on the inside of your eyelid that connects the eye to the tissue around it.
The doctors did a biopsy on this lesion to remove a part of it.
Further analysis found this lesion was malignant which led to the diagnosis of malignant melanoma.
Fortunately, the researchers explained that melanoma characterised by pigmented lesions is a rare form of eye cancer.
What’s more, ocular melanoma cases, in general, are extremely rare.
Also, the woman’s lesion has not expanded even months later, which could signal that the treatment is working.
The woman opted for treatment with pembrolizumab instead of surgery to remove and treat the lesion.
In case you’re not aware, pembrolizumab is an antibody-drug used to treat melanomas, among other cancers.
What are the symptoms of eye cancer?
Apart from the itchy eyelid experienced by the case study, other signs include:
- Shadows, flashes of light, or wiggly lines in your vision
- Blurred vision
- Dark patch in your eye that’s getting bigger
- Partial or total loss of vision
- Bulging of one eye
- Lump on your eyelid or in your eye that’s increasing in size
- Pain in or around your eye (this is rare).
Although these symptoms might not “necessarily” mean you have cancer, it’s “important” to visit your doctor “as soon as possible”.
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