ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how common eyelid cancer is. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Use the menu to see other pages.
Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.
Skin cancer is very common in general, and the eyelid is a common place that skin cancer is found. Around 5% to 10% of all skin cancers occur in the eyelid.
About 85% to 95% of eyelid cancers in non-Asian countries are basal cell skin cancers. An estimated 70% of these cases occur in the lower eyelid. They can also occur in the inner corner of the eye, the upper lids, and the outer corner of the eye. Basal cell carcinoma is diagnosed most often in adults and rarely occurs in children. It almost never spreads to other parts of the body.
Other types of eyelid cancer are much less common. Squamous cell skin cancer makes up 5% of all eyelid cancer, and melanoma makes up less than 1% of all eyelid cancer.
In general, basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are almost always curable, especially if the cancer is found and treated early. Melanoma can also be cured if it is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages. However, melanoma is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.
Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from American Academy of Ophthalmology EyeWiki; Pe’er, Jacob, “Pathology of Eyelid Tumors,” Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 2016 Mar; 64(3):177–190); and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center website. (All sources accessed February 2023.)
The next section in this guide is Risk Factors. It describes the factors that may increase the chance of developing eyelid cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.