Stye won’t go away? It could be skin cancer

Stye won’t go away?  It could be skin cancer
Photo: CC0 / Pixabay – newarta

White skin cancer on the eyelid is difficult to distinguish from a stye. If the conspicuous area does not disappear for weeks, those affected should seek medical advice.

Skin cancer prevention involves more than examining your body for particularly dark moles. Because the so-called melanomas only indicate black skin cancer. However, white skin cancer occurs more frequently and, according to the German Cancer Society (DKG), around 260,000 people in Germany contract it every year. The white variant has very good chances of healing, but here too it is important to recognize it early. Particularly insidious: Sometimes skin tumors appear on the eyelids and initially look like harmless hailstones or barley grains.

The Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), for example, reports on a woman who noticed a small nodule on her lower right eyelid. She thought it was a grain of barley and didn’t pay much attention to it at first. When she went to the ophthalmologist a few weeks later, the diagnosis was: basal cell carcinoma (basalioma), the most common form of white skin cancer.

Operate before it’s too late

According to the report, she was operated on twice, but both times the basal cell carcinoma grew back. In a third operation, part of her eyelid had to be removed and replaced with a skin graft. This was the only way to prevent the malignant tumor from coming back.

In an interview with BR, ophthalmologist and eyelid surgeon Sebastian Ober explains: “The treatment of white skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, is so important because metastasis, i.e. spread in the body, is extremely rare with this type of tumor and surgery is then actually too means a cure for the patient.”

Basalioma on the eyelid
An inconspicuous lump on the eyelid could turn out to be skin cancer. (Photo: Screenshot – Bayerischer Rundfunk / Frankenschau Aktuell)

However, patients should not make the mistake of waiting too long with treatment: “Because the tumor is really aggressive and malignant on the spot and it attacks everything that comes within its reach […] destroyed,” warns Ober. This is not just limited to the affected eyelid. If nothing is done about it, the eye and the surrounding bone could also be “completely destroyed”, according to the eye specialist.

What to do against white skin cancer?

Ober advises always seeing an eye doctor if a nodule or pimple on an eyelid doesn’t go away within a few days or weeks. To prevent skin cancer in general, he recommends wearing sunglasses in summer and using sunscreen with a sufficiently high sun protection factor.

Sources used: BR, German Cancer Society

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