5 Things You Need To Know About Conjunctival Lymphoma

Health & Medical Blog

There are many types of cancers that can affect your eyes, including conjunctival lymphoma. Conjunctival lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that affects your conjunctiva, the white part of your eye. Here are five things you need to know about this eye cancer.

What are the signs of conjunctival lymphoma?

The main symptom of conjunctival lymphoma is a salmon-colored patch on the surface of your eye. If the tumor gets large enough, it can displace your eye and make it hard for you to move the affected eye. This movement restriction can lead to vision problems like double vision. If you notice any of these signs, make sure to bring them to your optometrist's attention right away.

What causes it?

Conjunctival lymphoma begins in your lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are immune system cells. For some reason, these cells change on a genetic level. These genetic changes allow the cells to mutate and form tumors. Scientists still don't know why this happens. Some risk factors, like age, have been identified, but they don't explain all cases of lymphoma. More research needs to be done to discover the causes of conjunctival lymphoma.

Can it be treated?

If your optometrist diagnoses you with conjunctival lymphoma, you'll be referred to an oncologist for further treatment. The treatment options for conjunctival lymphoma vary based on the severity of the cancer.

If the cancer is confined to your conjunctiva, it can be treated with external beam radiation therapy. During this treatment, a large radiation machine will be used to deliver radiation to your eye. Your healthy tissues will be covered with shielding blocks to protect them from radiation.

If the cancer is systemic, you will be treated with systemic chemotherapy. During this treatment, you'll receive chemotherapy drugs through an IV, and the drugs will travel throughout your bloodstream to fight cancer cells anywhere they are found.

What is the survival rate?

The survival rate for patients with conjunctival lymphoma varies based on how early the cancer is diagnosed and treated. Like other types of cancers, it is easier to treat before it has spread to other parts of the body. The survival rate for conjunctival lymphoma has been reported to be 93%, though if systemic disease is present, the survival rate is lower.

How common is it?

Eye cancers like conjunctival lymphoma are fairly rare. The National Cancer Institute estimates that about 2,390 Americans are diagnosed with eye cancer every year. 

For more information, contact Ashworth Vision Clinic or a similar location.


6 October 2015

Cancer Treatment Questions: Understanding The Differences in Options

After watching my mother navigate treatment for breast cancer in my early teens, I knew pretty much what to expect from my dad's diagnosis with prostate cancer. What I didn't know was how different chemotherapy and radiation can affect different people. My mother became very ill while my dad seemed to weather the treatments with few ill effects. I spent a long time researching the differences in treatments, types of chemotherapy, and how each one can react differently with the body. I created this blog to help others understand the same things, because I knew I couldn't be the only one unfamiliar with it. I hope it helps you if someone you love is facing treatment for any type of cancer.