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CANCER AND THE EYE Professor of Ophthalmology NYU
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COURIER L 34 IFE, OCTOBER 15-21, 2021
How to protect yourself
In addition to scheduling clinical
screenings and mammograms,
women should routinely examine
and massage their breasts to detect
any abnormalities. These breast selfexams
can be an important part of
early breast cancer detection.
Although many women are
aware that they should become
familiar with their bodies, many
are unsure about just how frequently
they should conduct
breast examinations. Experts
at Johns Hopkins
Medical center advise
adult women of all ages
to perform self-examinations
at least once a
month. That’s because 40
percent of diagnosed breast cancers
are fi rst detected by women who feel
a lump. Establishing a regular breast
self-exam schedule is very important.
Begin by looking at the breasts in a
mirror. Note the size and appearance
of the breasts, and pay attention to any
changes that are normal parts of hormonal
changes associated with menstruation.
Breasts should be evenly
shaped without distortion or swelling.
Changes that should cause concern
include dimpling, puckering, or bulging
of the skin. Inverted nipples or nipples
that have changed position, as well as
any rash or redness, should be noted. In
addition, the same examination should
be done with arms raised over the head.
The breasts should be felt while both
lying down and standing up. Use the
right hand to manipulate the
left breast and vice versa.
Use a fi rm touch with the
fi rst few fi ngers of the
hand. Cover the entire
breast in circular motions.
The pattern taken doesn’t
matter so long as it covers
the entire breast. All tissue,
from the front to the back of
the breast, should be felt.
The same pattern and
procedure should be conducted
while standing up.
Many women fi nd this easiest to do
while in the shower.
It is important not to panic if something
is detected. Not every lump is
breast cancer. But bring any concerns
to the attention of your doctor.
Breast self-exams are a healthy
habit to adopt. When used in conjunction
with regular medical care and
mammography, self-exams can be yet
another tool in helping to detect breast
abnormalities. Doctors and nurses will
use similar breast examination techniques
during routine examinations.
— American Cancer Society
Thankfully, eye cancer is a very rare condition.
However it is diagnosed in a small number
of Americans annually. In twenty-fi ve years of
private practice and taking care of thousands
of patients, I have only seen three patients with
primary eye cancer and two patients with cancer
which metastasized to the eye.
Intraocular melanoma is the most common
eye tumor. It is often diagnosed by an ophthalmologist
during a routine eye exam which includes
a dilated retinal exam.
Until late in the disease, the cancer is often
silent, without the patient experiencing any
symptoms. Patients with certain risk factors
have a higher probability of getting the disease
although many never develop it. Risk factors
for melanoma include moles in the back of the
eye, also known as choroidal nevi. Caucasian
patients are more at risk of getting melanoma
than African American patients. Patients with
blue eyes are at higher risk as lighter eyes are
more sensitive to sunlight.
Cancer can also start elsewhere in the body
and metastasize to the choroid, the vascular
tissue in back of the eye. The most common tumor
to metastasize to the eye is breast cancer
in women. In men, the most common cancer
to metastasize to the eye is lung cancer. About
40% of breast tumors are genetic. These can
also be diagnosed by a dilated retinal exam.
A careful examination of the eye not only can
reveal tumors which exist in the eye, but can
Millie R. Fell, MD, FACS
also reveal whether a patient has a brain tumor.
An ophthalmologist is often the fi rst to see patients
with headaches. Examination of the optic
nerves can reveal whether there is any problem
in the brain.
Visit our state of the art offi ce for all your eye
needs. It is equipped with all the latest equipment
to supplement our clinical examination.
This includes visual fi eld testing, fl uorescein angiography
and OCT imaging.
Dr. Millie Fell is Board Certifi ed and a Fellow
of the American Board of Ophthalmology. She
is also fellowship-trained in medical retina and
Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University
School of Medicine, Manhattan, NY.
Most insurances accepted
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF CARING FOR BROOKLYN’S EYES!