Eye cancer risk

Prevention

Preventable cases of eye cancer, UK

Occupational exposures

Eye cancer  cases linked to occupational exposures, UK

The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with eye cancer is 1 in 930 (less than 1%) for males, and 1 in 1,049 (less than 1%) for females born after 1960 in the UK.[1]

These figures take account of the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of eye cancer in their lifetime (‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method).[2]

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on cancer incidence and mortality data provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), ISD Scotland, the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, on request, October 2016 to October 2017, and ONS 2016-based Life expectancies and population projections. Accessed December 2017. 
  2. Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith N, et al. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. Br J Cancer, 2011. 105(3): p. 460-5.

About this data

Data is for UK, cancer incidence and mortality rates for 2015, and past and projected all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961, ICD-10 C69.

The calculations used cancer incidence and mortality rates for 2015, and past and projected all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 to project risk over the lifetime of those born in 1961 (mixed period-cohort method).[1] Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

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2% (3% in males and less than 1% in females) of eye cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.[1]

Eye cancer risk is associated with a number of risk factors.[2,3]

Eye Cancer Risk Factors

  Increases risk Decreases risk
'Sufficient' or 'convincing' evidence
  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1
  • Ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices
  • Welding
 
'Limited' or 'Probable' evidence
  • Solar radiation
 

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) classification does not include eye cancer because it is not generally recognised to have a relationship to food, nutrition, and physical activity.

See also

Want to generate bespoke preventable cancers stats statements? Download our interactive statement generator.

Find out more about the definitions and evidence for this data

Learn how attributable risk is calculated

References

  1. Parkin DM, Boyd L, Walker LC. The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010. Summary and conclusions. Br J Cancer 2011; 105 (S2):S77-S81. 
  2. International Agency for Research on Cancer. List of Classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, Volumes 1 to 122. Accessed October 2018.
  3. World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Findings & Reports. Accessed June 2017.
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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]

Uveal melanoma risk may be 2-3 times as high in occasional or frequent users of sunlamps (includes sunbeds and tanning booths), compared with never users, a case-control study showed.[2] However, evidence is mixed.[2-5]

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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]

Uveal melanoma risk is 64% higher in those who get sunburned easily, compared with those who tan well, a meta-analysis showed.[2]

Uveal melanoma risk is not associated with occupational sunlight exposure or outdoor leisure, a meta-analysis showed.[3]

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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]  An estimated 3% of eye cancers in males and less than 1% in females in the UK are linked to UV radiation from welding.[2]

Uveal melanoma risk is doubled in those who have ever welded, compared with those who have never welded, a meta-analysis showed.[3] This association is likely to be due to exposure to intermittent UV radiation.[3]

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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]

Ocular surface squamous neoplasia (which includes cancer and pre-cancer) risk is around 8 times as high in people with HIV/AIDS, compared with those without, a meta-analysis showed.[2]

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Family history

Eye cancer risk is 30-50% higher in people with a first-degree relative with melanoma, compared with the general population, a pooled analysis showed.[1] Eye cancer risk is around 4-8 times higher in people with two or more first-degree relatives with melanoma, compared with the general population.[1]

Retinoblastoma risk is 54 times higher in children with a family history of the disease, compared with the general population, a cohort study showed.[2]

Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is caused by a mutation in the RB1 gene.[3] It is a rare type of eye cancer that mainly affects children. Around 40% of retinoblastoma cases are caused by an inherited mutation in the RB1 gene.[4] Individuals with hereditary retinoblastoma are at a significantly increased risk of developing other cancers later in life, whereas those with nonhereditary retinoblastoma are not, a cohort study showed.[5]

References

  1. Fallah M, Pukkala E, Sundquist K, et al. Familial melanoma by histology and age: joint data from five Nordic countries. Eur J Cancer. 2014 Apr;50(6):1176-83.
  2. Yip BH, Pawitan Y, Czene K. Parental age and risk of childhood cancers: a population-based cohort study from Sweden. Int J Epidemiol. 2006 Dec;35(6):1495-503. Epub 2006 Sep 28.
  3. Lohmann DR, Gallie BL. Retinoblastoma: revisiting the model prototype of inherited cancer. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2004 Aug 15;129C(1):23-8.
  4. Ghassemi F, Khodabande A. Risk definition and management strategies in retinoblastoma: current perspectives. Clin Ophthalmol. 2015 Jun 8;9:985-94.
  5. Marees T, Moll AC, Imhof SM, et al. Risk of second malignancies in survivors of retinoblastoma: more than 40 years of follow-up. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008 Dec 17;100(24):1771-9.
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Moles and freckles

Uveal melanoma risk is around 3-4 times higher in people with any unusually shaped or large moles on their skin (atypical naevi) versus people without any such moles, a meta-analysis showed.[1

Uveal melanoma risk is 74% higher in people with common moles on their skin, a meta-analysis showed.[1]

Uveal melanoma risk is 53% higher in people with moles on the iris (iris naevi), a meta-analysis showed.[2]

Uveal melanoma risk is 27% higher in people with freckles, a meta-analysis showed.[1]

Skin colour

Uveal melanoma risk is 80% higher in those with fair skin, compared with those with dark skin, a meta-analysis showed.[2]

Eye colour

Uveal melanoma risk is 75% higher in those with blue or grey eyes, compared with those with brown eyes, a meta-analysis showed.[2]

Cancer stats explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the many organisations across the UK which collect, analyse, and share the data which we use, and to the patients and public who consent for their data to be used. Find out more about the sources which are essential for our statistics.