What are the types of eye cancer?

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  • Cancers in the inside the eyeball are known as intraocular.
  • Cancers outside the eyeball are extraocular.

Melanoma is the most common intraocular cancer in adults, followed by intraocular lymphoma.

Retinoblastoma cancer in the retina is the most common intraocular cancer in children, followed by medulloepithelioma.

Melanoma of the eye

Most melanomas start in the skin but can also develop in other parts of your body, including the eye.

Intraocular melanoma begins in the middle layer of the eye, the choroid. This layer has cells that make the pigment melanin, which become malignant (cancerous).

A small number of melanomas occur in the iris, the coloured part of your eye. If the melanoma spreads to the optic nerve or nearby tissue of the eye socket, it is called extraocular.

It may also spread to the liver, lung or bone, or to areas under your skin.

Lymphoma of the eye

Lymphoma of the eye is very rare. Lymphoma usually begins in the lymph nodes that are part of your immune system.

There are two different types of lymphoma and intraocular lymphomas are always the non-Hodgkin type.

Squamous cell cancer

Squamous cell cancer of the eye is very rare. Most squamous cell cancers grow in the skin. If they start in the eye, it is usually in the conjunctiva.

Secondary intraocular cancers

These are cancers that have spread to the eye from another part of your body. For example, breast cancer and lung cancer.

These are not eye cancer but they are more common than primary intraocular cancers.

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