Periocular skin cancer: Diagnosis and management

Skin Cancer

Moran JM and Phelps PO. Dis Mon 2020.


The periocular region sees high rates of cancer compared to the rest of the body and can be affected by several unique tumors. Treatment typically involves surgical excision, although adjunctive therapies and prognosis vary depending on the diagnosis. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common malignancy affecting this region and should be excised promptly. This is followed by squamous cell carcinoma, which is often mistaken for BCC but is treated similarly. Melanoma is less common but more

deadly, with relatively high rates of metastasis and death. Rare tumors that may be found in this region include sebaceous carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and microcystic adnexal carcinoma. While uncommon, these tumors are associated with poor outcomes and frequent recurrence. Recognition of periocular skin cancer is an important skill for primary care physicians, as prompt diagnosis and treatment can be sight or life-saving.