a) What is uveal metastasis?
Cancer starting elsewhere in the body can spread to the eye, in particular, the uveal tract. This is called uveal metastasis. In the uveal tract the choroid is the most common sight for cancer to spread to, followed by the iris, then the ciliary body. In men cancer most commonly spreads to the eye from lung cancer, and in woman from breast cancer. This is most common in adults aged 55-65. Other sites for cancer to start before spreading to the eye include the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and the skin.
b) What are the symptoms of uveal metastasis?
Commonly there are no symptoms and the uveal metastases are noticed on routine examination. Some patients, however, may experience:
• Decreased vision
• Flashing lights
• Shadow in the vision
Sometimes the tumour causes the retina to detach, this is where the back lining of the eye comes away. This may cause floaters, flashing lights, and a curtain over the vision.
c) Will I need any tests?
As well as taking pictures of the eye, we may perform:
• Ultrasound Scan
• Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
• Blood tests
If we suspect the cancer has spread to the eye from else where in the body, we may arrange scans to look for cancer. This may include:
• Chest X-ray
• CT scan
• PET CT scan
• MRI scan
d) What is the treatment for uveal metastasis?
Treatments may include:
• Radiotherapy (external beam radiotherapy or plaque radiotherapy)
• Radiotherapy and chemotherapy
The treatment choice depends on where the cancer has started from in the body. Discussion with our medical oncologist will helps us choose the best treatment for you.