Radiotherapy is a common treatment for melanoma of the eye, particularly for those that are small or medium sized.
When you might have it
You don't usually have radiotherapy for a large tumour because of the amount of radiation you would need. Large doses of radiotherapy would mean losing the sight in that eye, so the result would be no better than removing the eye. Radiotherapy can also cause an increase in pressure within the eye (glaucoma).
If you have radiotherapy for a small or medium sized eye melanoma, it may be possible to save the eye and keep your sight. This will depend on where the tumour is and its size. Sometimes you have surgery for your eye melanoma before you have radiotherapy.
If you have lymphoma of the eye, your doctor may suggest radiotherapy as for non Hodgkin lymphoma. Radiotherapy to your eye and brain can clear the cancer in the eye and also helps to stop it coming back in the brain or spinal cord.
Radiotherapy treatment for eye lymphoma usually includes both eyes being treated. This is because there is a high chance of the cancer being present in both eyes.
Your doctor discusses your treatment with you in detail before you start your radiotherapy. Ask as many questions as you need to. Like most treatments, radiotherapy has side effects.
How you have it
There are different ways of giving radiotherapy to the eye. They are:
- brachytherapy – small radioactive plates stitched to the eye give the radiotherapy (internal radiotherapy)
- external beam therapy – a machine directs radiotherapy beams at the tumour from outside the eye