Treatments for eye cancer
If you have eye cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for eye cancer, your healthcare team will consider:
- the type of eye cancer
- the size and location of the tumour in the eye
- whether or not the cancer has spread outside of the eye
- the effect the treatment will have on your vision
- your age and general health
- your personal preferences
The goal of treating eye cancer is to prevent it from spreading and to save your vision whenever possible.
Expert review and references
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American Society of Clinical Oncology. Eye Cancer. 2015: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/eye-cancer/view-all.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Eyelid Cancer. 2015: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/eyelid-cancer/view-all.
Cancer Research UK. Treatment Options for Eye Cancer. Cancer Research UK; 2015: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/eye-cancer/treatment/types/treatment-options-for-eye-cancer?view=PrinterFriendly.
Choudhary MM, Singh AD . Ophthalmic cancers. Raghavan D, Blanke CD, Honson DH, et al (eds.). Textbook of Uncommon Cancer. 4th ed. Wiley Blackwell; 2012: 62: 835-846.
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Melanoma Network of Canada. Guide to Uveal Melanoma. 2015: https://www.melanomanetwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/140622-MNC_UvealGuideBooklet_FIN2_lr1.pdf.
Melanoma Research Foundation. Ocular Melanoma Treatment Options. 2016: http://www.melanoma.org/understand-melanoma/what-is-melanoma/ocular-melanoma/ocular-melanoma-treatment.
National Cancer Institute. Intraocular (Uveal) Melanoma Treatment - for Patients (PDQ®). National Cancer Institute; 2015: http://www.cancer.gov/types/eye/patient/intraocular-melanoma-treatment-pdq.
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre . Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Clinical Practice Guidelines: Ocular Oncology - Conjunctival Malignancy . 2015 : https://www.uhn.ca/PrincessMargaret/Health_Professionals/Programs_Departments/Pages/clinical_practice_guidelines.aspx.
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Clinical Practice Guidelines: Ocular Oncology - Uveal Melanoma. 2015: http://www.uhn.ca/PrincessMargaret/Health_Professionals/Programs_Departments/Central_Nervous_System_Eye/Documents/CPG_Ocular_%20UvealMelanoma.pdf.
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Clinical Practice Guidelines: Ocular Oncology - Periocular Cutaneous Malignancy. 2015: http://www.uhn.ca/PrincessMargaret/Health_Professionals/Programs_Departments/Central_Nervous_System_Eye/Documents/CPG_Ocular_%20PeriocularCutaneousMalignancy.pdf#search=Extraocular%20Cancer.
Schefler AC, Abramson DH, Dunkel IJ, McCormick B . Neoplasms of the eye. Hong WK, Bast RC Jr, Hait WN, et al (eds.). Holland Frei Cancer Medicine. 8th ed. People's Medical Publishing House; 2010: 72: 904-914.
Treatments for intraocular melanoma
The following are treatment options for all stages of the intraocular melanoma of the choroid. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer and the status of their vision.
Treatments for lymphoma of the eye
Lymphoma of the eye can affect the inside of the eyeball (called intraocular lymphoma), the conjunctiva (a clear mucous membrane that covers the inner surface of the eyelids and the outer surface of the eye), eyelids or structures within the eye socket (orbit). Learn about treatment options for lymphoma of the eye, including radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Surgery for eye cancer
Surgery is one of the primary treatments used to treat eye cancer. The type of surgery you have depends on the size and location of the tumour, your age and the stage of the cancer. Learn about types of surgery, including eye resection, enucleation and orbital exenteration as well as artificial eye and reconstructive surgery.
Radiation therapy for eye cancer
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. Most people with eye cancer will have radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy for eye cancer
Chemotherapy may be used to treat eye cancer in certain situations. Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to treat cancer. It is usually a systemic therapy that circulates throughout the body and destroys cancer cells, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour.
Active surveillance (watchful waiting) for eye cancer
Active surveillance may be a treatment option for some people with eye cancer who are not experiencing symptoms. Active surveillance means the healthcare team watches the cancer closely. Treatment is given when the signs and symptoms of eye cancer appear or change.
Targeted therapy for eye cancer
Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat advanced eye cancer. Targeted therapy uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on cancer cells or inside them. These molecules help send signals that tell cells to grow or divide. By targeting these molecules, the drugs stop the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting harm to normal cells.
Immunotherapy for eye cancer
Immunotherapy is rarely used to treat eye cancer. It is a type of treatment that uses the immune system to help destroy cancer cells. The immune system is a complex system of cells and organs that work together to defend our bodies against disease and infection.
Follow-up after treatment for eye cancer
Eye cancer behaves differently in each person, and a standard follow-up schedule would not work for everyone. People with eye cancer should talk to their doctor about a follow-up plan that suits their individual situation. Follow-up care is often shared among the cancer specialists and family doctor.