Skin cancers are often found on or around the eyelid skin, most usually on the lower eyelid. They can also be found on the margins of the eyelid, corners, eyebrows or rarely near the eye on the conjunctiva (the inner lining of the eyelid).
They appear as lumps or elevations of the skin or as small swellings or nodules. In some cases, eyelashes are distorted or missing. The cancerous area may be ulcerated, may bleed or crust and the skin shape may be distorted. These cancers are painless. Diagnosis may need to be confirmed by taking a sample of skin (a biopsy).
Skin cancers are normally caused by excessive exposure to UV light — the sun or sun beds. The face, eyelids and arms are the main areas to be affected and fair-skinned people are much more likely to develop skin cancer than those with darker skin. Rarely, skin cancer can be an inherited condition.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most encountered skin cancer around the eye and it usually affect the lower lid and the medial canthus.
Treatment is usually with surgical excision, which is usually curative in this type of skin cancer when the excision is complete.