What is Uveal Melanoma – Symptoms and Treatment

The human eye is made up of concentric pigmented layers. Its middle layer is called the Uvea associated with providing nutrition to the organ and in light absorption. There are certain cells which reside in this section and provide color to the eye. When these cells turn malignant,

uveal melanoma

develops in the organ.

Depending upon the layer affected by the rogue cells, this eye cancer can be divided into choroidal melanoma, ciliary body melanoma and iris melanoma. The tumor of the iris melanoma is a benign or non-cancerous type mostly. It does not pose any threat to the vision until it turns malignant. Moreover, early detection of the tumor can lead to very good treatment of the cancer.

Symptoms of Uveal Melanoma:

  • Deep eye pain
  • Visual problems
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Less visual sight
  • Photophobia
  • Pruritus
  • Conjunctival vessel dilation

What Research Has to Say on the Melanoma of the Uvea?

  • Researchers have found that most of the choroidal melanoma tumors of the eyes are also non-cancerous or benign by nature.
  • However, exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can turn the benign cells into rogue ones.
  • As cancer abilities are acquired by these cells, they can spread the disease to other layers and locations of the eye.
  • Reports of mutation in certain genes like BRAF and BAP1 are also available which hold such developments responsible for this eye cancer type.
  • Statistics have revealed that people with light skin and blue eyes are more at risk of developing this ailment.
  • Exposure to arc welding and blue light is debated to be a potential risk factor by the experts of the field.

Treatment of Uveal Melanoma:

Depending upon the site, size and stage of the eye tumor, removal of the affected eye is the primary treatment of this cancer. With the advancement in the field of radiation therapy, the risk of surgically removing the eye has drastically come down.

However, even advanced treatment modalities like radiation therapy and surgery have their own associated complications.

In the advanced stage of the eye cancer, liver of the patient gets affected. Unfortunately, in the case of 50 percent of the patients, the eye cancer spreads to remote locations of the body within 15 years of receiving the treatment.

After such a complicated state is diagnosed, the survival time left for the patient ranges anywhere between 8-10 months.

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