When most of us think about the possibility of developing skin cancer, we most likely envision questionable lesions on parts of our bodies that experience the highest rate of sun exposure: the bridge of our nose, the flesh of our cheeks, the skin of our arms, shoulders, and upper chest.
While these areas are certainly just as prone to skin cancer growth as any other part of the body, it’s important to remember that absolutely every square inch of our skin has the potential of developing carcinomas and melanomas. One part of the body that is surprisingly prone to the development of these skin cancers is the eyelids.
Why Skin Cancer on the Eyelid is Common
Although the skin of the eyelid is incredibly thin, it contains the same building structures and layers as the rest of our skin. This makes our eyelids just as susceptible to skin cancer as any other area of our body. As Dr. Vinh Chung reminds us, “Skin cancer can appear anywhere on our skin, including our eyelids. Because our eyelids are so often exposed to the sun, they are at risk of developing cancers.”
Another reason skin cancer on the eyelids is so common is remarkably simple. As Dr. Renata Prado explains, “To protect the eyelid skin from ultraviolet radiation, the use of sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are recommended. Many people stop short of the eye area when applying sunscreen. Even among those who use sunscreen on their faces regularly, the most often missed spots are around the eyelids.”
It’s important to note that sunscreen can be safely applied to the eye area, especially formulas that are chemical-free, as they run little risk of causing eye irritation. Dr. Prado continues to explain that “Mineral formulas made with zinc or titanium dioxide [such as clara’s UV LUXE, which incorporates both of these physical SPF components] are a good choice, as they usually won’t sting your eyes as you sweat.”
What Your Dermatologist Will Look For
The vast majority of skin cancer cases around the eye develop in the form of basal cell carcinomas. While not as life-threatening as melanomas, these skin cancers can grow to develop large areas of skin around the eyelid, leading to eventual disfigurement. For this reason, we take any new or changing growth on the eyelid very seriously.
How Your Dermatologist Will Treat Your Skin Cancer
The most common form of treatment for nonmelanoma skin cancer near the eyelids is Mohs micrographic surgery. Because the skin of the eyelid is so delicate, Mohs—which is performed through a process of gradually removing skin tissue and testing throughout the procedure to ensure all skin cancer cells are removed—lends itself particularly well to this part of the body.
Thankfully, Mohs is also the most effective skin cancer treatment, boasting an impressive 99% success rate for basal and squamous cell carcinomas when detected early.
Schedule a Dermatology Appointment for Early Skin Cancer Detection
If you or someone you know has developed a suspicious mole on the eyelid area—or any other part of the body—don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of Vanguard’s trusted dermatologists. Call 719-355-1585 to schedule your appointment or to ask any questions you might have about the skin exam process.