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Dr. Chan
Dr. Chan, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 356
Experience:  Board Certified in ophthalmology
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What are the dangers of letting basal cell carcinoma cancer

Customer Question

What are the dangers of letting basal cell carcinoma cancer go? It was on my lower left eyelid & also a deep margin beside my tear duct glan.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Chan replied 8 years ago.


The good thing about basal cell carcinoma is that they don't metastasize through the blood or lymphatic systems. They only grow locally. However, they can do quite a bit of damage to the local tissue as they grow in. I mention that because of the location of your lesions are close to important anatomic structures. The lesion on the lower lid could cause the lid to either roll in or out and can cause problems for you eye. The lesion by the tear duct can invade it and cause problems with tearing. If you wait too long, it may be more difficult to excise without destroying the normal structures.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I was hoping for an answer to help show neglect on the Drs. part. After surgery in 2003 the pathlogy report showed there was still cancer, but I didn't know about it until about 2 months ago when I got his records. My derm. got me appts. with two other Drs. & I lost my lower left eyelid + a margin below my lid. I had to have reconstrutive surgery on lid & tear duct.
Expert:  Dr. Chan replied 8 years ago.


That certainly sounds like negligence. Did he remove the lesion but had cancer cells left up to the margin? Or was it just a small biopsy?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

He did a biopsy & found out that it was cancer. He told me that he may have to get a plastic surgeon to do the surgery because it was so close to my tear duct gland. When I went to the surgery ctr. he showed up & did a local & made one cut & put a couple stiches in & that was it.

I didn't know until I got the records that the pathology report still showed cancer. I was not told about this. I kept going to him & he said everything looking good. The surgery was in May 2003. He told me to come back in a year. I went back in 2004 complaining about my eye being red & still oozing. He said little concern. I went back in 2005 & he said the same thing. Meantime the cancer is still spreading.

I started going to the other specialist at the same clinic in 2008 for flaoters. He never mentioned the cancer, so I asked if he would do a biopsy. He said I did have cancer. He explained the procedure to me ,but told me it would be in my best interest just to keep an eye on it.

I got an app. with a derm. because of sun damaged skin on face & scalp. He said he couldn't treat me until I got my eye fixed. He set me up with two drs. They cut until they had gotten all the cancer & did reconstructive surgery.

Expert:  Dr. Chan replied 8 years ago.


I'm sorry for the problems you have had. The standard of care is to remove the entire lesion. If the margins are not clear, you have to go back and get it again. After one try, I will do what is called a frozen section (where we have the pathologist look at it while we are in the OR -- if all margins are clear, we close; if not, we cut out some more). In my opinion, he should have re-resected the lesion. If he could not, he should have referred you to an oculoplastic surgeon.

Are you have a lot of tearing problems due to the damage?

Dr. Chan and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.


I have to put eye drops in it all the time to get comfort.

Expert:  Dr. Chan replied 8 years ago.
Are more reconstructive surgeries planned?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Expert:  Dr. Chan replied 8 years ago.
I wish you good luck.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Do you think I have a solid case to sue?
Expert:  Dr. Chan replied 8 years ago.


I don't know the doctor's side of the story. But I think you have a very good chance. Having said that, I am a Christian and therefore recognize the Biblical authority that speaks against suing in court. I recognize that everyone makes mistakes and I assume that he did not do out of malicious intent to hurt you.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

How do you leave feedback? Dr. Chan was very helpful. Worth the $15.00.

Bristol Benny

Expert:  Dr. Chan replied 8 years ago.
There should be a button that says feedback.