Tumors are abnormal growths of tissue that can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Tumors on the eyelid should be evaluated and treated as soon as possible. Even a benign tumor can cause pain or irritation to the eye. A biopsy will usually determine whether the eyelid tumor is benign or malignant.
Most cancers of the eyelid (about 85 – 95%) are basal cell carcinomas that form on the surface of the eyelid. They are malignant but rarely spread to other parts of the body.
Occasionally it is also possible to see squamous cell carcinomas, sebaceous cell carcinomas, and malignant melanoma of the eyelid.
Tumor = Cancer?
A tumor on the eyelid does not necessarily mean the patient has eyelid cancer. Many are removed and then determined to be benign cysts, inflammations, or skin cancer. It is important that patients have their eyelids inspected regularly by a doctor and they seek treatment right away for any tumors.
Reconstruction After Surgery
Some patients may have a medium or large tumor removed, which will require the doctor to perform eyelid reconstruction after the removal surgery. While the patient is still under anesthesia, the doctor will reconstruct the eyelid with skin flaps or other reconstruction techniques to restore the patient’s eyelid to an even, symmetrical appearance.