What Is It?Retinoblastoma is a rare cancerous tumor of the retina. This cancer is only curable if it’s caught earlyenough, but around 87% of childrenwho get this disease die. About 97%of the children who live have severevision loss or could lose one or both of their eyes.
How Do You Get It?This disease is cause by a mutation in a gene controlling cell division, which causes cells to grow out of control and become cancerous. In about half of the cases, this mutation develops in a kid whose family has never had eye cancer. Other times, however, the mutation is present in a number of family members. If the mutation runs in the family, then there is a 50% chance that the person’s children will also get the mutation, making them have a high risk of developing the disease as well.This cancer typically affects kids under the age of 6. It’s most commonly diagnosed in children from 1-2 years of age.
What Does It Do?• One or both eyes can be affected• Blindness may occur in the eye that’s affected.• You can also get any of the following: – Crossed eyes – Double vision – Eyes that are not aligned – Eye redness and pain – Poor vision
Signs & Symptoms• Common signs of retinoblastoma include: - A white glint or glow in the pupil of one or both eyes in dim lighting - White pupil that shows up in photo - Crossed or eyes that are not aligned
Spreading Although it’s rare, this tumor can spread to other parts of the body, including thebrain, lungs, and bones. This happens when it spreads to the eye socket by the opticnerve, and then can also go to other parts of your body.
Treatment• The different treatments depend on the size and location of the tumor.• Smaller tumors can be treated using laser surgery or cryotherapy.• Radiation is used for both small tumors and for larger tumors.• Chemotherapy might be necessary if the tumor spreads beyond the eye.• The eye could need to be remove (a procedure known as eucleation) if the tumor doesn’t go away with other treatments. Sometimes, eucleation might be the first treatment.
Treatment Effects Cryotherapy uses extreme cold to destroy diseased cells. (circulatory system) Bleeding may result from the freezing of tissues, and nerve damage can also (nervous system) occur, impairing the function of the nerves that were frozen. External beam radiation is most often used forchildren with bad cases. It delivers high-powered beams to the area with the tumor. It can cause side effects to the(nervous system) beam reaches brain if the sensitive areas around the eye. This is why this treatment is usually reserved for kids with bad cases.