Eye Cancer (Melanoma and Lymphoma)

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What Is Eye Cancer? TOPICS

What are the key statistics for eye cancer?

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for eye cancer in the United States for 2014 are:

  • 2,730 new cases of cancers (primarily melanoma) of the eye and orbit: 1,440 in men and 1,290 in women
  • 310 deaths from cancers of the eye and orbit: 130 in men and 180 in women

Primary eye cancers can occur at any age, but the risk 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 the section “Eye cancer survival rates.”


Last Medical Review: 09/13/2013
Last Revised: 02/11/2014