a) What is lacrimal gland carcinoma?
This is a rare malignant tumour of the lacrimal gland. The commonest malignant lacrimal gland carcinoma is called adenoid cystic carcinoma. This tumour can grow quickly and spread to the bones and the nerves around the eye.
b) What are the symptoms of lacrimal gland carcinoma?
This tumour can grow quickly and cause swelling of the top eyelid. The eye may stick out (proptosis- picture above) or be pushed downwards and inwards. This can cause double vision and blurring. If the tumour spreads into the bone and the nerves this can cause pain or numbness over the face.
c) What are the risks of getting lacrimal gland carcinoma?
The following increase your risk of lacrimal gland carcinoma:
• Age - it is more common in your 30s.
• Previous radiation treatment to the face,
• Previous removal of a benign lacrimal gland pleomorphic adenoma.
d) Will I need any tests?
We may perform the following scans:
• CT scan
• MRI scan
• Ultrasound scan
This helps us measure the size of the tumour, position, and check if there is any spread into the bone. Biopsy of the tumour is sometimes performed to confirm the diagnosis in the laboratory.
e) How is lacrimal gland carcinoma treated?
Surgery and radiotherapy is usually required. Surgery may include removal of the tumour and tissue around the lacrimal gland. If the tumour has spread out of the lacrimal gland then exenteration may be required. Unfortunately treatment is rarely curative, however, our medical oncology team will guide us on the best treatment for you.