What is Ocular Melanoma?
melanoma (OM) is a cancer of the eye, including the iris, choroid or ciliary body. This can spread (metastasise) to other
organs, typically the liver. Approximately 50% of patients will develop metastatic disease within 15 years of the original
diagnosis, and once the liver is involved the cancer is currently incurable. However, if the spread is found early enough there
are localised treatments that can potentially extend life expectancy or help improve quality of
life for sufferers. There are also many new drug therapies being brought to trial, and some of them have shown great success in other types
of melanoma such as cutaneous melanoma (skin cancer).
When you are diagnosed
with ocular melanoma, you will be referred to one of the specialist eye centres who will deal with the tumour in your eye. Your eye doctor will decide which is
the best initial treatment for you. You will also have tests to work out whether your cancer has already spread
and this is called staging.
If metastases are found at the time of diagnosis,
your eye doctor will work closely with your medical oncologist to decide on the best course of treatment for your personal
circumstances. If your cancer is contained within the eye at diagnosis you will be referred for ongoing follow-up, the aim of which will be to identify any future spread in a timely fashion. You
will continue to have regular checkups of your eye and you may need further eye treatment depending on your situation.