October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It is a time to gain knowledge of what breast cancer patients are up against and how society can help. Many people are surprised to know that 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. That is 12.5% of women! The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that in 2022, an estimated 287,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed. Men may also develop breast cancer, however, far less than women with an estimated 2,710 cases this year which is less than 1% of all breast cancer cases.
Metastasis in the Eye
People are also surprised to know that the eye is a potential place for metastasis in women with breast cancer. Eye metastases, or the development of secondary malignant growths in and around the eyes, are a rare event in cancer patients however, breast cancer is the most common primary site in women. For men, lung cancer is more common for metastasis to the eye.
Why an Eye Exam is Important
It is important if diagnosed with breast cancer to have a comprehensive eye health exam. Tumors that develop in and around the eyes are typically painless and may not be symptomatic until late in the disease process. Therefore, a dilated eye exam and Optomap retinal imaging are particularly important. In a recent 2022 case report and review of the literature, the most common sites in and around the eye for metastases were eye muscles 29%, eye socket 26%, mixed 20%, iris or uveal tract 14%, and optic nerve 11%.
Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
In the event of diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, and or hormone therapy medications may cause ocular side effects. Red, itchy, dry eyes are common. Watery eyes, conjunctivitis, and blurry vision may also be experienced. It is important to seek care from your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Regular follow-ups during and after your treatment are also mandatory. It is important to alert your eye doctor of any changes in your vision or eye comfort. There are effective treatments for all side effects and keeping your eyes comfortable and healthy is our primary goal.
Cockrell Eyecare Center is an ardent supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you or a family member has any questions concerning your eye health and breast cancer, please contact our office in Stillwater at 405-372-1715.
Schedule an appointment with us today!