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Rare Eye Cancer Ocular Melanoma: Signs, Symptoms, And Treatment

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Ocular melanoma is in the news as separate groups from Alabama and North Carolina reportedly got the same disease, which, in turn, baffled doctors.

Not Quite Common

Melanoma in itself is a type of cancer involving the cells, which give different human body parts its distinct colors. Cells such as those found in the eyes, hair, and skin are capable of the production of melanin that gives people different hair, eye, and skin color.

This kind of cancer is commonly experienced by people on the skin but when it occurs in the eye, its identified as ocular melanoma. Medical experts claim that cancer of this type is quite rare with a six in one million odds of acquiring it.

Description And Detection

Depending on the form and location of the ocular melanoma, it could immediately cause some vision problems for some patients. If left unchecked and untreated, cancer cells could spread to other organs, which makes it fatal.

Doctors reveal that it is difficult to detect outright due to its propensity to form in areas of the eye, which are not immediately visible when a patient looks on a mirror. Moreover, it supposedly does not produce early signs that make it easier to identify.

Causes And Symptoms

Until now, medical experts have barely narrowed down the exact causes as to why people get ocular melanoma. Studies show that those with light-colored eyes, fair skin, and red or blond hair, are also the same type of people that are susceptible to skin cancer, and are prone to this rare eye cancer.

Continued research also reveals that ultraviolet ray exposure is not one of the causes as there's lack of evidence to support it. People with atypical mole syndrome are also likely to get same cancer. For now, it has not been established that the risk factor might be hereditary in nature.

Reported symptoms include a sensation of flashing lights, blurry or poor vision, pupil changes in shape, a dark spot of the iris that grows, peripheral vision loss, and sometimes, floaters.

Known Treatment

Once identified, patients are encouraged to see a specialist who can recommend a treatment as early as possible. Early treatment of ocular melanoma also decreases the possibility of this type of cancer to spread to other organs.

Depending on the severity of the case, the different treatment options offered by medical professionals include radiation treatment, laser, and surgery.

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