Diagnosis of Eyelid Cancer

Executive Summary

Different tests are available for eyelid cancer diagnosis development, depending on signs and symptoms, age and health status, types of tumor, and earlier medical tests. Physical examination, imaging tests, and biopsies are the diagnostic approaches for eye cancer diagnosis. Most common eyelid cancer diagnoses include biopsy, Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and Positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and ultrasound.

Diagnosis of Eyelid Cancer

Many tests are performed for diagnosis of eyelid cancer. Also, tests are done to learn if the CNS tumor has spread to parts other than where it started. The spread of the tumor to other regions is called metastasis.

A biopsy is a sure way to know if you have cancer in a particular part or organ of the body for most types of cancer.

Imaging tests can help doctors determine if the tumour is a primary tumour or if cancer has metastasized to the brain from elsewhere in the body.

The different tests can be used for a person depending upon the following factors – 

  • Your signs and symptoms of eyelid cancer
  • The age and general health status
  • The type of cancer suspected
  • The result of earlier medical tests

In addition to the physical examinations, the below-mentioned test can be used for diagnosis of eyelid cancer ​1​:

  • Biopsy – A biopsy removes a small part of tissue to examine under a microscope. A biopsy can also be done as surgery to remove the entire tumour. The type of biopsy performed depends upon the position of the tumour.
  • CT Scan – A CT scan is used for the diagnosis of eyelid cancer, it takes pictures of the inside of the body using x-rays taken from different angles. A computer combines photos into a detailed, 3-dimensional image that shows abnormalities or tumours. Occasionally, a special dye known as contrast medium is given before the scan to provide superior detail on the image. This dye can be injected into the patient’s vein or given as a pill or liquid to swallow. 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging – An MRI uses magnetic fields for the diagnosis, not x-rays, to produce detailed body images. A specific dye known as contrast medium is given before the scan to create a better picture. This dye can be injected into the patient’s vein or given as a pill or liquid to swallow.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan – A PET scan creates images of organs and tissues present inside the body for diagnosis. A small amount of a radioactive substance is injected into the patient’s body which is taken up by cells using the most energy. The cancer cells which use energy actively take up the radioactive substance, and the scanner then spots this substance to produce images of the inside of the body.
  • Ultrasound – An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the internal organs.

After the tests for diagnosis of eyelid cancer are done, the doctor will analyze all the results with you. These results can help the doctor describe cancer if the diagnosis is eyelid cancer ​2​.


  1. 1.
    Yin VT, Merritt HA, Sniegowski M, Esmaeli B. Eyelid and ocular surface carcinoma: Diagnosis and management. Clinics in Dermatology. Published online March 2015:159-169. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2014.10.008
  2. 2.
    Pe’er J, Singh AD, eds. Clinical Ophthalmic Oncology. Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2014. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-38336-6