Local News

New Technology Can Ease Fears Of Skin Cancer Near Eyes

Posted October 21, 2005

— Many types of skin cancer appears near the eyes. When the lesion is removed, it can leave a disfiguring hole and even worse, it can affect the function of the eye lids. Additional surgery restores the eye lids and, often, with little trace of a scar.

John Beasley has had several skin cancers removed from his arms and face. Last December, another one appeared near his eye.

"I kept noticing a little scab, what I called a scab, on my eye lid," he said.

For a couple years, Patty Von Gretener hoped the sore at the corner of her eye near her nose would go away.

"It just got worse," she said.

Both Beasley and Von Gretener had their skin cancers removed at Rex Hospital in a procedure called Mohs Micrographic surgery. It has the highest cure rate and lowest chance of cancer re-growth. Still, when the lesion is gone, the result can be difficult to look at.

"It looked pretty dramatic the day afterwards," Beasley said.

"I refused to look at it. They told me it looked awful. My son was positively frightened," Von Gretener said.

But for both Beasley and Von Gretener, the Mohs surgery only removed the cancer, not healthy tissue.

"The more healthy skin tissue you have left, it makes it easier to reconstruct," opththalmologist Dr. Paul Riske said.

Riske specializes in plastic surgery around the eyes. For Beasley, he used healthy skin near the wound to close the hole.

"I always said that it gave me an eye lift or a face lift," he said. "Now, I've got to go back and get the other one fixed."

Riske grafted skin from above Von Gretener's nose and turned it around to cover the cancer wound. She said her son, who was so frightened before, cannot find the scar at all.

Both Beasley and Von Gretener had basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, which are the most common types. Basal cell cancers typically don't spread to other areas while squamous cells can. Health experts said the important thing is to have any changes or any new spots on your skin checked by your physician or dermatologist.


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