Detecting cancer from itchy eyelid symptoms

A Chinese woman was found to have malignant eye cancer after going to the doctor because of itchy eyelids.

The case was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 24. The 47-year-old patient, living in Xi’an city, went to the hospital in August 2021 because of itchy eyelids for two weeks.

The doctor noticed a foreign body and a dark pigmented area protruding from the right upper eyelid. After flipping the eyelids, they observed a large, well-defined pigmented lesion above the conjunctiva and nasopharynx.

The doctor then does a biopsy to remove the lesion. However, they discovered it was melanoma – a serious skin cancer, located in the eyelids. Eye melanoma is extremely rare, with an incidence of 1 in 5 million people, experts say.

The Chinese woman’s cancer is even rarer, as malignant lesions rarely develop inside the eyelid area. It is more common in the choroidal layer, the ciliary body.

The female patient was recommended surgery to remove the lesion. However, the tumor is located in a delicate location, this procedure carries many risks. The patient refused surgery, choosing an alternative treatment with pembrolizumab – an antibody drug used for general forms of skin cancer.

The tumor did not grow larger in the 7 months since the patient was diagnosed. The disease also did not affect the woman’s eyesight.

The case of eyelid cancer was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 24. Photo: Health

Melanoma is a tumor that develops in the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. Normal human eyes also produce melanin cells, which can develop melanoma.

Most melanomas that form in the eye cannot be seen in a mirror, and are difficult to detect on their own. In addition, eye melanoma does not cause obvious signs or symptoms in the early stages. But some symptoms include: black spots appear more and more on the iris, soot condition, decreased vision, loss of peripheral vision, …

Currently, there are medical methods available to treat eye melanoma that do not affect vision. Experts recommend people to see a doctor as soon as they notice abnormal signs.

Thuc Linh (According to NY Post)


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