Cancer Support Group

Monday, Nov 20th

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

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Eye Cancer Treatment

After eye cancer is detected and staged, the doctors will devise a treatment plan that focuses on the type, stage and location of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health status. If the tumor is in the advanced stages and there is little hope of regaining vision the most effective treatment is an enucleation, the removal of the eye. This obviously is a drastic treatment and is avoided if possible.
Other eye surgeries include the following:
  • choroidectomy-removal of part of the choroid,
  • iridectomy-removal of part of the iris,
  • iridocyclectomy-removal of parts of the ciliary body and parts of iris,
  • iridotrabeculectomy-removal of parts of the supporting tissues around the cornea and iris.
  • Enucleation: Procedure to remove the entire eyeball. Enucleation is the standard surgical treatment for retinoblastoma of one eye. The eye is replaced with a prosthetic version, and the muscles are reattached to allow some normal movement.
In eye cancer where the tumor is small and there is a good chance that the vision will be restored less drastic measures than the above surgeries are taken. Radiation and chemotherapy are two courses of treatment that help in killing off the existing tumor and preventing its spread into other areas of the body.

Cryotherapy relies upon extreme cold to destroy small retinoblastoma tumors. After the patient is put to sleep with anesthesia, a low-temperature probe is placed next to the tumor on the eye’s surface. The extreme temperature of the probe kills the cancer cells. Cryotherapy may cause temporary swelling of the eye and eyelid, and usually must be repeated several times.

Thermotherapy uses heat to destroy the cancer cells. Thermotherapy may be the only form of treatment for small tumors in certain locations. Similar to standard laser therapy, thermotherapy is generally administered while the patient is under anesthesia. Patients typically require three treatments over the course of three months.

Laser therapy. This type of therapy burns tissue with a high-energy, highly focused beam of light. Laser therapy can be effective in treating tiny retinoblastomas and small melanomas of the eye. Even though the laser beam can accurately focus only on the cancer cells, patients still experience some visual loss after laser therapy.

A radiation/surgical treatment for eye cancer is brachytherapy. A small plaque with radioactive iodine on one side and gold on the other is stitched to the eye behind the tumor with the radioactive iodine facing the tumor. The gold is used to shield the other tissues from the radiation. It is left there for a period of time depending on the dosage of radiation needed and then it is removed. In this way the tumor is treated and hopefully will shrink and eventually die.

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