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  • Chris Thiagarajah MD

Stye Treatment in Denver: When is it really cancer?



Stye Treatment in Denver: When is it really cancer?

I sometimes have patients come to my office with a “stye”. This is a growth on their eyelid that may have been there for weeks, months or even years. Most patients think that a bump on the eyelid is a stye but that may not be the case. In Denver there are growths on the eyelid that are in fact not styes but eyelid cancer. There are four primary eyelid cancers that patients need to watch out for:

Basal cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma

Melanoma

Sebaceous Cell Carcinoma

The first two cancers of the eyelid are the more common ones. The second two are rarer but can easily kill you if not attended to. That is because those cancers are the types that can spread to other organs on the body.

What are the signs of cancer on the eyelid?

Spontaneous Bleeding

This is when a bump or growth bleeds on its own (not because you are picking it). This is a sign of cancer because as a cancer grows it can outgrow its blood supply and blood vessels can tear and leak blood.

Loss of Eyelashes

In general styes do not cause loss of eyelashes the same way that eyelid cancer does. If you have a growth on your eyelid and there is a loss of eyelashes there, you need to see an oculoplastic surgeon in Denver

Loss of Eyelid Architecture

If the structure of the eyelid is damaged or destroyed meaning things don’t look the same as before, this is more likely a cancer than a stye.

What is the treatment for eyelid cancer?

The treatment of choice for eyelid cancer is excision or removal of the cancer. This is critically important. I have had patients who ignore eyelid growths and after several years, their entire eye socket needs to be removed. This is not common but points to the fact that eyelid cancer needs to be removed by an expert eyelid specialist as soon as possible

What are the first steps when I have what I think I have a stye or eyelid cancer?

If you think you have eyelid cancer come to my office and get it checked out. If you can’t come to me, see an oculoplastic surgeon. If you think you have a stye use warm compresses. If it continues to get bigger or you have one of the three earlier mentioned characteristics of the growth, get checked out immediately. A biopsy of the eyelid needs to be done to determine if it Is a cancer.

Many patients with eyelid cancer think it is no big deal and believe they have a stye. Often the eyelid cancer grows and spreads into important structures of the eye socket and eye. This is a serious condition that should be attended to immediately. If you have a growth on your eyelid, have an eyelid specialist examine you.


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