My specialty is oculoplastic surgery or surgery around the eyes such as eyelids, eye socket, tear ducts and face. I treat a lot of eyelid cancer in Denver. This includes basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma. I used to wonder why there was such a high rate of skin cancer around the eyes. After all, a lot of people wear sunglasses but eyelid cancer accounts for 20% of all facial skin cancer. That’s a lot! Also, it is a high percentage that the surface area the eyelids contribute as part of the face.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool found that the amount of SPF sunblock that is applied to the eyelids is often missed. They are currently researching why that is. Studies revealed that this decreased application of sunblock causes increased rates of skin cancer in the eyelids.
Secondly, I believe that skin cancer in the eyelids in male patients are often overlooked since male patients do not look at their eyelids. Female patients are used to eyeliner, eye shadow and cosmetics. As a result, they can often identify quickly a skin cancer on the eyelids. Male patients often identify skin cancer when it is larger.
The treatment for eyelid cancer is removal. This is through surgery. Often I use a Mohs surgeon to remove the skin cancer and then reconstruct it myself. There are specialized techniques that oculoplastic surgeons use to reconstruct the eyelids giving the maximum results cosmetically and maintaining form and function of the eyelid.
I am hoping that this article will highlight to the public the importance of applying liberal spf sunblock to the face and eyelids. Skin cancer is a huge issue in the US and specifically Colorado. Because of the high altitude there is increased UV exposed to the face. Coverage of the face and eyelids is critical to reducing the risk of facial and eyelid cancer.
If you have a bump on your eyelid, it is important to see a specialist of the eyelids to evaluate and biopsy the growth if need be. Early treatment results in early removal and most importantly less tissue that needs to be excised. Call our office for a consultation if you are concerned.