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.
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 eyes. 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 and melanoma make up 5% and less than 1% of all eyelid cancer, respectively.
In general, basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer is 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.
It is important to remember that statistics for people with eyelid cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. 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 (sources accessed January 2021).
The next section in this guide is Risk Factors. It explains what factors may increase the chance of developing eyelid cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.