The eyelid skin is the thinnest and most sensitive skin on your body, and as a result, this is the first area of your face to show change from sun damage and aging. Unfortunately, solar damage and other environmental toxins cause the skin to age and can cause cancer. The presence of a bump or growth on the eyelid that is enlarging, bleeds, or forms a scab should be looked at by a medical doctor trained in recognizing these types of growths. Basal cell skin cancers represent 90% of eyelid tumors and grow slowly over months to years. They usually appear as a pearly nodule or bump that eventually starts to break down and bleed or scab. Despite being a cancer, these tumors don't spread to distant areas but mainly, just continue to grow and infiltrate the surrounding tissue causing a lot of damage. They can be cured by a simple surgical removal followed by a reconstruction of the defect left behind if they are caught early.

Squamous cell tumors are less common but are more aggressive. They can eventually spread to other parts of the body. Early detection and removal are key. They will appear as a rough, crusty, or red spot, or the skin is changing or breaking down. These are harder to spot sometimes, so it's important you see your doctor regularly if you have a history of skin cancer so they aren't missed. Melanoma is the least common but most dangerous eyelid skin cancer. It usually appears as an irregular brown spot. If left to grow, it can invade into the deep tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can be lethal, so have any suspicious spots checked out as soon as you notice them.

Skin cancers often need to be removed by a surgeon who can also reconstruct the eyelid or area where the tumor was removed. We often perform small tumor removals in the clinic but often, we must use a surgical facility with an on-site pathologist who can immediately examine the specimen to insure the whole tumor was removed. Other times, we work together with the dermatologist specializing in moles surgery, where they completely remove the tumor and we reconstruct the defect they create.

Eyelid Skin Cancer

Dr. Matheson Harris discusses Skin Cancer on the eyelids and how to look for suspicious spots.