What Are the Key Statistics for Eye Cancer?

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for eye cancer in the United States for 2017 are:

  • 3,130 new cancers (mainly melanomas) of the eye and orbit: 1,800 in men and 1,330 in women
  • 330 deaths from cancers of the eye and orbit: 180 in men and 150 in women

Primary eye cancers can occur at any age, but the risk for most types increases as people get older. The rate of eye melanomas has been fairly stable over the past few decades. Cancers that spread to the eye from another part of the body (secondary eye cancers) are actually more common than primary eye cancers.

Most cancers of the eye and orbit in adults are melanomas, with lymphomas being the next most common. Both of these cancers start more often in other parts of the body. More than 9 out of 10 melanomas start in the skin, while most lymphomas begin in lymph nodes.

For statistics on survival, see “ Eye cancer survival rates.”

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: December 9, 2014 Last Revised: January 5, 2017

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