Eye cancer

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Change in appearance and eye cancer surgery

Some surgeries for eye cancer can change the way a person looks. The type of change that may occur will depend on the type of eye surgery that is done.

  • Some people may have scarring. Surgeons try to make incisions on the face along the lines of natural creases, which makes scars less visible.
  • An enucleation or exenteration can affect a person’s appearance. It can be quite distressing for someone to have their entire eye removed.

A change in appearance can affect your self-esteem and body image. It can also affect how you think others see you.

It takes time to adjust to a change in appearance and to learn how to cope with these changes.

  • Scars usually fade and many become less noticeable over time.
    • Some people use makeup to camouflage scars or skin grafts that may be a different colour.
  • Some people choose to wear sunglasses or glasses with different coloured lenses until they feel more comfortable with their appearance. Eyeglasses can also help disguise the differences in the eyes.
  • An orbital implant and artificial eye (prosthesis) can lessen the overall effect on appearance. A permanent artificial eye looks similar to the person’s other eye, it just may not move as much. Other people may not readily notice the difference in the 2 eyes. However, you may feel that you look different, even if others don’t notice.
  • You may find it helpful to speak with someone else who has had a similar experience.
  • Share your feelings with people close to you.
  • You may also feel uncomfortable with being intimate and having sex. You may worry about how you look to your partner. There are ways to deal with body image changes and sexuality. Talk to your partner about your fears. There are many things a person with cancer and their partner can do to help them continue a healthy sex life.


Canadian Cancer Trials Group researcher Dr Wendy Parulekar The Canadian Cancer Trials Group found that extending hormone therapy keeps breast cancer at bay.

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Support from someone who has ‘been there’

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The Canadian Cancer Society’s peer support program is a telephone support service that matches cancer patients and their caregivers with specially trained volunteers.

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