Cancer symptoms are important to recognise because a cure for the condition is yet to exist. Detecting cancer early can ensure treatment is more effective and increase your chances of survival. But in many cases, the symptoms of cancer are mistaken for non-cancerous illnesses, meaning they’re ignored and left untreated. The majority of the time, the symptoms won’t be caused by cancer, but it’s still important to see your GP so they can investigate.
Cancer can affect all different parts of the body, but one area to be aware of is the eyes.
Symptoms of eye cancer
Eye cancer doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms and may only be picked up during a routine eye test.
But it’s important to note the following seven signs, according to the NHS:
- Shadows, flashes of light, or wiggly lines in your vision
- Blurred vision
- A dark patch in your eye that’s getting bigger
- Partial or total loss of vision
- Bulging of one eye
- A lump on your eyelid or in your eye that’s increasing in size
- Pain in or around your eye, although this is rare
The health body further advises: “These symptoms can also be caused by more minor eye conditions, so they’re not necessarily a sign of cancer.
“But it’s important to get the symptoms checked by a doctor as soon as possible.”
There are around 750 cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK each year, and a number of different types.
- Eye melanoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Retinoblastoma - a childhood cancer
Causes of eye cancer
The most common form of eye cancer in adults is eye melanoma, according to Bupa.
The cause is not clear, but there are reasons you may be likely to develop the condition, says the health organisation.
Having eyes that are a pale colour - blue, grey or green - can increase your risk.
Being older is also a risk factor, as most people who get eye cancer are over 50.
Other things which could make you more likely to develop eye cancer are:
- If you are white, with fair skin
- If you have unusual brown spots in your eye
- If you have lots of unusually shaped or large moles
- Being exposed to sunlight
Each cancer has its own specific set of symptoms, but there are also some more general ones to be aware of.