Is Eyelid Skin Cancer Serious? - SightMD Skip to main content

April 20, 2023

By: Samuel Baharestani, MD

Is Eyelid Skin Cancer Serious?

close up image of an eye

A diagnosis of cancer is serious and scary. And if cancer is detected on as delicate an area as the eyelids, the concerns are magnified. If you are concerned about the possibility of one day being diagnosed with eyelid skin cancer, know that his condition is treatable.

Where does Eyelid Skin Cancer form?

When cancer forms on the eyes, it is generally on the outer eyelid. The medical term for this is “epithelial tumor.” And, what you may find surprising, is that although the condition is serious, eyelid skin cancer is actually fairly common, and accounts for between five and 10 percent of external diagnoses. The most common types of eyelid skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, sebaceous carcinoma, and melanoma. While no one should ever have to face such a diagnosis, this condition can be managed and treated—provided it is detected in the early stages.

Within the last decade, there have been great advances in the surgical treatment of eyelid skin cancer. The most common operation in the removal of this cancer is known as “Mohs surgery,” which is performed by a specially trained dermatologist. Depending on the severity of the growth, the eyelid may need reconstructive surgery, which would be performed by an oculoplastic surgeon. Yes, the condition is serious. And yes, it can be dealt with.

Have you noticed marks or blemishes forming on or around your eyes?

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. Make an appointment with the SightMD office that’s most convenient to you as soon as possible. It may be a different condition. If your eye care professional finds, however, that it is in fact eyelid skin cancer, this early detection means that treating this condition is manageable and the chances for a relatively easy recovery are in your favor.