One of the scariest experiences a person can have is getting tested by a doctor and hearing the diagnosis return as “cancer.” Yet scarier is the rate of metastisization and the effect the cancer cells can have on the affected organs. For many, the warning signs of cancer appear as subdermal abnormalities like lumps or cysts, while others don’t learn of it until they have experienced neurological symptoms like headaches, fainting, or memory loss.
There is no single, ultimate cause of cancer that is the smoking gun in each recorded case. Somewhat often, cancer is a genetic issue; it is estimated that as many as 10% of cancer cases are inherited through the family line. More common still is a combination of risk factors present in a person’s life. Such factors include smoking, obesity, and exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. It is the latter that is of particularly high risk to the average person, especially one who is active outside and chooses not to wear sufficiently strong sunblock or UV-shielding sunglasses. The symptoms caused by excessive sun exposure are a leading cause in bringing people into our Miami clinic for facial plastic surgery.
When discussing periocular cancers (cancers surrounding the eyes), it’s important to note that sun exposure is the most frequent cause of these cancers. Such cancers include various types of carcinoma (including basal cell, squamous cell, and sebaceous glandcarcinoma), and melanoma (including superficial spreading, nodular, lentigo maligna, and acral lentiginous melanoma). Each of these cancer types have external symptoms that can be identified by just remaining observant of troubled areas. If you have any questions about anything you are feeling or seeing around your eyes, Dr. Tannenbaum is a perfect person to call for a consultation.
Carcinoma is at its core a disease affecting the cells in your tissue, and manifests most commonly in the skin, like around the eye. Affected cells will then divide haphazardly, occasionally spreading to affect other parts of the body. Signs of carcinoma can include:
- Pink spots or nodules on the surface of the skin, usually painless.
- Open/weeping sores that won’t heal.
- Disfiguration of the skin (such as tags, warts, or growths) that will affect the normal look and feel of eyelids.
Regardless of what type of carcinoma you have (basal cell carcinoma, for example, is the most common type of skin cancer), you do not want to ignore these warning signs. Speaking to a plastic surgeon here in Miami will help shed light on the extent of the cancer’s growth and possible treatments.
Melanoma as a type of cancer is not unlike carcinoma in that malignant cells start to grow out of control. The difference lies specifically in which cells are affected, namely those which produce melanin, the pigment that determines the color of your skin, eyes, and hair. These melanin-producing cells are called melanocytes. Signs of melanoma include:
- Blurred vision
- A pupil changing shape
- Irregular spots on the iris or eyelid that change color, shape, or size over time
While some strains of melanoma can affect the eye directly, most types of melanoma are found in the skin, like that surrounding the eye. Melanoma is generally considered to be one of the most serious types of skin cancer.
As is true with all forms of cancer, a certified health professional will have numerous tools at their disposal to help treat the patient. These treatments include:
- Facial Plastic Surgery: Here in Miami, plastic surgery on or around the eyelid is extremely common. Removing the cancerous spots and growths from the periocular area is like the bread and butter of a facial plastic surgeon.
- Radiation Therapy: In addition to surgery around the eyelids, our surgeons might suggest highly focused radiation therapy on only the affected areas of your skin. This is a common occurrence for certain types of carcinoma.
- Chemotherapy: If the cancer has not been caught early, chemotherapy may be yet another tool used by your doctor to combat the malignant cells. This has been known to be used in conjunction with plastic surgery in Miami.
A Facial Plastic Surgeon You Can Count On
When it comes to the proper diagnosis and removal of cutaneous cancers like carcinoma and melanoma around the eyes, Dr. Myron Tannenbaum has the experience and tools to get the job done. For years the people of Miami have enjoyed the results of his work and you can too.