Three tips for eyelid cancer prevention
The eyelid is the most delicate skin on the body. For some, it’s more susceptible to developing cancer. But eyelid cancer can be prevented.
Here are three things you should know about eyelid cancer prevention.
Learn the eyelid cancer risk factors
UV radiation - the harmful rays from the sun and tanning beds - is the most common cause of eyelid cancer.
“About 95 percent of eyelid cancers in the United States are the result of sun exposure,” says Saira George, M.D., a dermatologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center. “This places people with light skin, red or blond hair and light-colored eyes, who tend to sunburn easily, at a higher risk.”
People who have had radiation to the face are also at greater risk for eyelid cancer. So are those who have weakened immune systems.
In some extremely rare cases, eyelid cancer can be caused by genetic disorders such as basal cell nevus syndrome or Muir-Torre syndrome.
Protect your eyelids
“Be wise and protect your skin daily with a facial sunscreen lotion with an SPF of 30 or higher,” George says.
When you’re out in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for added protection of the delicate skin around your eyes. Use sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection. If you wear eyeglasses, be sure the lenses have a UV-protective coating.
Keep your immune system strong by following a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Don’t smoke, and don’t drink alcohol.
Know how to spot eyelid cancer symptoms
Unlike a sty, eyelid tumors are usually painless.
“A pimple-like bump on the eyelid that doesn’t go away after two to three weeks but steadily gets bigger could be skin cancer,” George says.
A skin cancer of the eyelid can also cause:
- loss of eyelashes
- a notch in the eyelid
- a chronic infection of the eyelid
- a sore on the eyelid that bleeds or doesn’t heal
- asymmetric thickening of the eyelid
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. Eyelid cancer is easiest to treat when it’s caught early.
By following these steps, you can keep your eyelids and skin healthy.