Cancer: Two signs in the eyes signalling 'malignant tumours' that originated elsewhere


Cancer is an increasing global health challenge, and coronavirus disruptions have fuelled this crisis. In a bid to lessen the impact of coronavirus, broadening awareness of the myriad symptoms has become a priority among health bodies. Occasionally, cancers that have arisen elsewhere in the body could show up in the eyes first. Two of the most common cancers known to spread to the eyes are lung and breast cancer.

Breast cancer symptoms will differ from case to case, but common warning signs include a new lump in the breast or underarm or swelling in these areas.

Patients may notice irritation or dimpling of breast skin, and redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast.

Most sufferers are unaware, however, that signs of breast cancer can occur in the eyes.

In fact, according to Moreland Eyecare: “The most commonplace in the body for breast cancer to spread (beyond the lymph tissue in the breast area) is to the eyes.”

READ MORE: Cancer symptoms: Five ‘unexpected’ signs of cancer you may be ignoring

According to Retina Today, the complaints most frequently associated with metastasising cancer are painless blurred vision, which may occur in 88 percent of participants.

Five percent of complainants report floaters, while another five percent experienced photopsia, an eye condition that usually appears as flickering light and shimmering lights.

“In men, lung cancer is more likely to spread to the eyes,” adds the health body.

The authors of a report published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases, in 2020, offered an overview of symptoms reported in connection to metastasising lung cancer.


Symptoms of malignant tumours in the lung can translate to blurred vision, loss of vision, eye pain and floaters.

The authors added: “Visual impairment caused by tumour metastasis seriously affects the quality of life and shortens survival of cancer patients.”

They continued: “For lung cancer patients with ocular symptoms as the first manifestation, ocular mastitis and primary lung tumour diagnosis can be difficult to establish.

“Because the symptoms are not specific, eye metastasis is easily overlooked.”

The most consistent warning signs of lung cancer include a persistent cough that doesn’t improve over time, chest pain, wheezing and shortness of breath.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds: “Other changes that can sometimes occur with lung cancer may include repeated bouts of pneumonia and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes inside the chest in the area between the lungs.

“These symptoms can happen with other illnesses, too.

“If you have some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor who can help find the cause.”

How to prevent cancer

Some key rules of cancer prevention, include eating properly, staying lean, exercising properly and avoiding tobacco.

According to Harvard Health, exercise appears to reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer and possibly reproductive cancers.

Staying lean is equally important, as obesity increases the risk of many forms of cancer, so health bodies recommend taking in fewer calories and burning more with exercise.

Finally, avoiding tobacco in all its forms is indispensable, and this includes exposure to secondhand smoke.


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