Eye Cancer Stages

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Eye cancer is rare. Hence, it is also called as a silent killer. Symptoms of eye cancer appear very late. Eye cancer that is mostly found in children is known as retinoblastoma and the eye cancer that is usually found in adults is known as Ocular melanoma. Cancer is a disease that develops because of rapid division and multiplication of cells that cannot be controlled. The dividing and multiplication of cells is controlled by genes. Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are responsible for the growth and reproduction of cells. Oncogenes are the genes that look after the growth and production of genes whereas tumor suppressor genes look after the killing of cells.

Stages of cancer:

TNM system can be used to determine the stage of the cancer.

T- T stands for the primary size of the cancer tumor. It also determines whether the tumor has invaded other tissues near it.

N- N states whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes present in the body and

M- M signifies metastasis of the cancer. Metastasis is spreading of cancerous malignant cells to other parts of the body.

The above described TNM system is applicable for determining stages of all the cancers.

Eye cancer stages:

Cancer is divided into four stages. The first stage of the cancer is the the least advanced stage of cancer whereas the fourth stage of cancer is the most advanced stage of cancer.

Stage 1 cancer: Small Melanoma

In this stage of cancer, the size of the tumor is very small about one to two and a half millimeters thick. Here, in small eye melanoma, the cancerous cells do not spread around the nearby tissues. Symptoms of eye cancer do not appear at an early stage and determination of eye cancer in the first stage can be done only by eye examination. Hence, regular eye check up is recommended. According to the survey conducted by UK Cancer Research Center, 84% of the eye cancer patients in stage one have life expectancy of minimum five years.

Stage 2 cancer: Medium Melanoma

In this stage, few symptoms of eye cancer such as mild loss of vision and seeing flashes of light or spots or lines called as floaters. The size of the tumor is five to eight millimeters in radius and maximum ten millimeters thick. Here, in this stage also the cancerous malignant cells do not spread to the tissues around the eyes or to the lymph nodes. The results of the survey conducted by UK Cancer Research Center show that 68% people diagnosed with second stage of eye cancer can live for more than five years.

Stage 3 cancer: Large Melanoma

In this stage of eye cancer, the symptoms are same as those appear in second stage but they are more severe. Hence, do not neglect these symptoms. Consult your eye specialist as early as possible. The size of the tumor present in the eye is more than eight millimeters in radius and ten millimeters in thickness. Here, the cancerous cells may have spread to the surrounding tissues but they have not spread to the nearest lymph nodes. Hence, there are no chances of metastasis of nearby organs. 47% of people whose eye cancer has spread to this third stage of cancer have life expectancy of at least five years according to a research conducted by UK Eye Cancer Research Center.

Stage 4 cancer: Metastasis of Cancer

It is the last stage of cancer. Patients in this last stage of cancer experience symptoms such as malaise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Here, the cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes. The patients in the fourth stage have a eye cancer survival rate of 15%.

Eye cancer stages help in deciding the treatment. Every cancer can be treated if it is detected early. Hence, there is a lot of emphasis on early detection and treatment of cancer.

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