Eye cancer

You are here: 

Chemotherapy for eye cancer

Chemotherapy may be used to treat eye cancer in certain situations. Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to treat cancer. It is usually a systemic therapysystemic therapyTreatment that travels through the bloodstream to reach cells all over the body. that circulates throughout the body and destroys cancer cells, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour. Some types of eye cancer, such as conjunctival or eyelid tumours, may be treated with topical chemotherapytopical chemotherapyTreatment with anti-cancer drugs in a lotion, cream or ointment that can be applied to the skin. applied directly to the eye.

Chemotherapy may be used:

  • as the primary treatment, with or without radiation therapy, to destroy cancer cells
    • Most people with lymphoma of the eye will have chemotherapy.
    • Radiation therapy may also be given in combination with chemotherapy.
  • to relieve pain or to control the symptoms of advanced eye cancer (palliative chemotherapy)
    • Chemotherapy doesn’t usually work well for melanoma of the eye. It is usually only used if the intraocular melanoma is advanced or has spread (metastasized).
  • to treat recurrent eye melanoma that has come back after treatment with surgery or radiation therapy

Drugs, doses and schedules vary from person to person.

Chemotherapy drugs

Chemotherapy drugs used to treat ocular lymphoma are the same as those used to treat other types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Chemotherapy drugs used to treat eye melanoma are the same as those used to treat melanoma skin cancer.

For detailed information on specific drugs, go to sources of drug information.

See a list of questions to ask your doctor about chemotherapy.


Woman at market in front of CCS poster This truly is a life-saving program, and we are so grateful to Husky Energy for making it happen.

Read more

Support from someone who has ‘been there’

Illustration of conversation

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

Learn more