Eyelid skin cancers are mostly commonly associated with excessive sun exposure throughout life. They arise from various layers within the skin and can appear differently on the eyelid depending on the type of cancer.

The two most common types of eyelid skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. They both may appear as a painless nodule or as a sore that won’t heal. The skin may start to ulcerate or bleed. The eyelashes may also be missing and the eyelid structure may appear deformed.

Melanoma is a less common but more serious form of skin cancer that arises from pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. It may appear as a mole that bleeds, changes in size or changes in shape.

Sebaceous gland carcinoma arises from oil glands in the eyelid skin and is a more serious form of skin cancer. It may appear as general thickening along the eyelid or inflammation that is not responding to treatment.

Eyelid Skin Cancer

A biopsy is usually required to confirm the diagnosis and determine the type of eyelid skin cancer. Prompt, aggressive treatment is necessary because of the risk of eyelid skin cancers to invade surrounding structures and spread to other parts of the body.


Early removal of eyelid skin cancer is critical to reduce the chance of recurrence and reduce the risk of spread to other parts of the body. Surgical excision is usually the most effective treatment for eyelid skin cancers. Treatment involves both complete removal of the skin cancer and reconstruction of the resulting defect to preserve eyelid function.

At the time of your consultation, Dr. Munroe will review the steps of surgery with you including the specific techniques of the procedure. Careful follow-up after surgery is necessary to look for recurrence and look for any new cancers so they can be treated promptly.