Melanoma Eye Cancer - OOKINFO
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6/06/2019

Melanoma Eye Cancer

Melanoma eye cancer is cancer that occurs in the cells of the eye melanocytes that function to produce melanin. Melanin is a pigment that produces color on the skin, hair, and eyes. Therefore melanoma can also occur on the skin.

 Melanoma in the eye generally grows in the uvea tissue of the eye, which includes iris tissue, ciliary body, and choroidal tissue. Often melanoma eye cancer occurs in the part of the eye that is not visible when reflecting.


In addition, this cancer rarely causes specific symptoms at an early stage. Both of these cause eye cancer melanoma difficult to detect at an early stage and are usually found accidentally during routine eye examinations. But when the cancerous tissue enlarges, it will cause a change in shape in the pupil, blurred vision, and decreased vision.

Melanoma eye cancer can be treated well especially if it is still in its early stages and is small in size. Treatment of cancer that is still small in size rarely interferes with the patient's visual ability. Conversely, if the cancer is large, the treatment given can cause interference with the patient's vision.
 

Symptoms of Melanoma Eye Cancer


Most melanomas in the eye grow on the inside of the eye which tends to be invisible, making it difficult to detect. This cancer also rarely causes significant symptoms. If there are indications that appear, usually in the form of:

  • Black spots appear on the iris.
  • It feels like seeing a flash of light.
  • Feels like spots or lines blocking the view.
  • Blurred vision or loss of vision.
  • Change in pupil shape.
  • Swelling in one eye.
  • Lumps on the petals or eyeballs that are getting bigger.

Although these symptoms can also occur not because of the presence of melanoma eye cancer, if you experience these symptoms, it is recommended to immediately see an ophthalmologist.

Causes and Risk Factors for Melanoma Eye Cancer


Melanoma eye cancer is caused by changes or mutations in DNA in the eye's melanocyte cells which results in uncontrolled cell growth. Melanoma tissue that experiences uncontrolled growth will cause damage to healthy eye tissue.

Melanoma can occur in various parts of the eye, both in the front of the eye such as the iris and ciliary body or in the back or precisely in the choroid tissue. But in rare cases, melanoma cancer can grow at the very front of the eye, which is in the conjunctiva.

Genetic mutations in eye cells are unclear, but there are some things that are thought to trigger these mutations, including:

  • Fair skin.
  • Pa sun and ultraviolet light, including the frequent use of ultraviolet light (sunbed) to darken the skin (tanning ). But this has not been proven with certainty.
  • Age factor. The risk of eye cancer will increase with age.
  • Eye color. People who have bright eye colors (eg blue, green, or gray) have a higher risk of eye cancer.
  • Derivative skin disorders. Skin that tends to form abnormal moles in various areas of the body's skin (dysplastic nevus syndrome), is generally at risk of developing melanoma in the eyes and skin.
  • Nevus of Ota. Nevus of Ota or oculodermal melanocytosis is a condition in which people have brownish spots on the middle part of the eye (uvea) or the part between the white part of the eyeball and the eye nerve. People who have Nevus of Ota can be at risk of developing melanoma eye cancer.

Until now, various things that are thought to be risk factors for someone experiencing melanoma eye cancer are still being studied, especially environmental and occupational factors. Some types of work that are thought to increase a person's risk of developing melanoma eye cancer are:

  • Fisherman.
  • Workers related to chemicals.
  • Laundry worker.
  • Farmer.
  • Welder.
  • Chef.

But in terms of proof, it is still debated, because no research has revealed a direct relationship between these types of work with the occurrence of melanoma eye cancer.

Melanoma Eye Cancer Diagnosis


Melanoma eye cancer is often asymptomatic (asymptomatic) so a detailed examination needs to be done to confirm the presence of cancer. Some diagnostic methods that can be done to ensure the presence of this cancer are:

  • Eye examination. This examination is done by checking the physical condition of the eye from the outside of the eye, blood vessels, and the inside of the eye. The eye examination can also be done using ophthalmoscopy to see the condition of the inside of the eye.
  • Eye ultrasound. Eye ultrasound serves to provide an overview of the condition of the inside of the eye using sound waves. An ultrasound device will be placed on the eyelid with the eyes closed.
  • Eye Angiography. Eye angiography serves to map the condition of blood vessels in the eye. Previously, patients would be injected with a contrast agent into a vein to clearly and accurately map the blood vessels of the eye and tumor.
  • Biopsy. The biopsy is done by taking samples of eye tissue to detect the presence of cancer cells. However, biopsy does not always have to be done to diagnose the presence or absence of melanoma eye cancer in patients, because this action risks causing damage to the eye.
  • Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT). This method is done by taking pictures of eye conditions using light waves.

To determine the extent of the spread of cancer, doctors can also carry out supporting diagnostic methods such as:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Liver function tests.
  • Abdominal ultrasound.
  • CT scan.
  • MRI.

Diagnosis also needs to be done to determine the size of the melanoma eye cancer which can be classified as follows:

  • Small. If the melanoma tissue has a width of 5-16 mm and a thickness of up to 1-3 mm.
  • Is being If the melanoma tissue has a width of no more than 16 mm with a thickness of about 3.1-8 mm.
  • Big. If the melanoma tissue has a width of more than 16 mm or thickness of more than 8 mm.

Melanoma eye cancer can be categorized as advanced cancer if it has spread to other tissues in the eye, or cancer that occurs is the recurrence (recurrence) of eye cancer that has previously occurred. The spread of melanoma eye cancer generally occurs in the tissues outside the eyeball (extraocular extension), such as the optic nerve.

Recurrence of eye cancer can also occur not only in the eyes but can also occur in other parts of the body such as the liver.
 

Melanoma Eye Cancer Treatment


The type of treatment that the doctor will recommend is determined based on the type of eye cancer, tumor size, and rate of spread. The age and overall health condition of the patient also have a large influence on determining the type of treatment.

The patient's recovery rate is also influenced by these factors, and whether or not melanoma eye cancer has recurred. The level of cancer malignancy also affects the possibility of healing the patient so that sometimes the doctor needs to do a biopsy of the eye tissue in order to find out the condition of cancer.

Some methods of treating melanoma eye cancer that can be done include:

  • Surgery. Through this procedure, the doctor will remove the melanoma tissue in the eye. Surgery performed depends on the size and symptoms of cancer that is caused. If the cancer is small, the surgery that is done only removes the cancer tissue and a little healthy tissue around cancer. Surgery can be either an iridectomy or cordectomy. Especially for large-sized cancers, the surgery is aimed at lifting the entire eyeball (enucleation). In the part of the eye where the eyeball has been removed, a prosthetic eyeball can be replaced as a substitute for the previous eyeball.
  • Radiotherapy. Through radiotherapy, the doctor will fire a beam of high-energy radiation into the cancer tissue. Radiotherapy is usually used for medium-sized eye cancer. Radiation sources can come from radiation plates that are affixed to the eye (brachytherapy) for a while or from a machine that shoots a beam of radiation directly into the eye (external radiation).
  • Cryotherapy. This is a method of treating eye cancer by freezing cancerous tissue so that it is damaged and dead.
  • Laser therapy. This therapy is carried out using special frequency rays. One example is thermotherapy that treats melanoma eye cancer using infrared light. Laser therapy can be combined with other treatments, especially radiotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy to treat eye cancer melanoma is done by using drugs to kill cancer cells. However, chemotherapy is rarely used to treat eye cancer.

Opportunities for melanoma eye cancer patients to recover depend on the level of malignancy and the size of cancer. If the cancer is still small or medium, 70-80 percent of people who suffer can still live up to 5 years after being diagnosed.
 

Complications of Melanoma Eye Cancer


If not treated properly, melanoma eye cancer can cause complications that are dangerous for sufferers such as:

  • Increased fluid pressure in the eye (glaucoma). Glaucoma can occur if the eye cancer of the melanoma grows and results in increased pressure in the eye bota and damage to the eye nerve. Eye pain and redness are symptoms of glaucoma. Glaucoma is also characterized by worsening or blurred vision.
  • Cancer spread. Untreated melanoma eye cancer can spread (metastasis) to other body parts, such as the liver, bones, lungs, and brain.
  • Blindness. Melanoma eye cancer, especially large size, can cause retinal detachment and blindness. However, even small cancers can cause blindness if it occurs in parts of the eye that are important for vision.

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