About Ocular Melanoma

Ocular melanoma is a rare form of cancer and is essentially a melanoma that develops in the eye. The most common type is uveal or choroidal melanoma which develops in the middle layer of the eyeball, the choroid. Approximately 430 people are diagnosed in the UK with this condition each year. Below are some facts about the condition and below that some links to useful organisations

The Facts

  • Approximately 50% of those diagnosed with ocular melanoma (OM) will go on to develop metastases (secondary cancers) within 10 years
  • Usually metastases develop in the liver although over time they will appear elsewhere especially the lungs, bone and brain
  • There is no known cure for ocular melanoma
  • 5-year survival rates for those with metastatic disease (when the cancer has spread) are about 15% even for those who have been treated
  • OM sufferers often face difficulties accessing treatments because their condition is rare. Skin cancer sufferers by comparison can more readily access clinical trials
  • Ocular melanoma is carried in the blood, unlike skin melanoma which is carried via the lymph nodes
  • The condition is not easily spotted and often show no symptoms — it is sometimes picked up in routine eye tests
  • There is only 1 case of OM for approximately every 40 cases of cutaneous (skin) melanoma

Why do OM patients get a raw deal?


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