Benign and Malignant Eyelid Lumps
Lumps on our eyelids and around our eyes are common, especially as we grow older. These can be hardly noticeable or quite unsightly, and they can be completely innocent or bode important health issues. This article explains the differences between benign and malignant eyelid growths and what can be done about them.
Benign Eyelid Tumors
Benign tumors are growths that are composed of normal cells that are not cancerous and will not spread uncontrollably. That said, some of these types of tumors can become malignant or cancerous in the future, so getting them looked at is still important, especially if they are changing. These can be growths of skin, red growths of blood vessel tissue, or freckles, and can be pigmented or not. The main thing to look out for is that the growth is not changing quickly or causing repeated inflammation of adjacent tissue. It is good to get these growths checked out by our eye doctors anyway, but if they are changing or growing a lot and damaging nearby structures, it is very important to get them looked at soon.
Malignant Tumors on the Eyelids
Malignant refers to tissue that is no longer normal – it is composed of cancerous cells that will grow uncontrollably and spread to other tissues if they can. In the eyelid, this can take the form of a growing, shiny, firm, or crusting nodule. It can also be an ulcer or wound that does not heal in a normal timeframe, a thickening or distortion of your normal eye tissues, or, of course, a sudden change of pigmentation in an area, whether lighter or darker. A loss of eyelashes in an area adjacent to a lesion without another cause is also suspicious and should be checked. Some malignant lesions can also look very similar to benign ones – making observing your body closely and regular examinations with our eye doctors important. For any malignant eyelid cancer, repeated sun exposure is a risk factor, so the regular use of sunglasses for your eyes and sun screen or hats for your eyelids and the rest of your body is recommended when out in the sun for significant periods of time.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Eyelid Lumps
Thankfully, more serious eyelid lesions are rare compared with the common and harmless lesions. If you get your eyes examined, our eye doctor may find another cause for your growth – a chalazion or hordeolum for example – and initiate treatment to make it go away. If a lesion seems suspicious, it will be sent to a specialist for biopsy (taking a part of the tissue away for pathological study). If it is indeed cancerous, as much as possible of it will be removed surgically while preserving normal tissue, and other cancer treatment methods will be initiated. Regular eye and medical examinations can catch lesions like this before they become out of control, making treatment much more effective and easy on you.
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