Retinoblastoma is eye cancer, which is found on the surface of the retina. This is a rare form of cancer which affects the eye and especially the retina. Retinoblastoma most commonly affects young children, but can rarely occur in adults.
This cancer is usually present in children below the age of six years and is usually diagnosed in children aged 1 to 2 years.
Retinoblastoma Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms include pain in the eyes, diminished or disturbed vision, an opaque and white appearance of the eyes, and a bulge in the eyes.
The tumour can spread through the optic nerve to the brain and other parts of the body, especially the bones.
Examination for this condition includes an ophthalmic examination, ultrasound of the eyes, CT or MRI of the orbits, and examination of the cerebro- spinal fluid, and possibly bone marrow examination.
Treatment of Retinoblastoma
Treatment of retinoblastoma includes laser surgery, cryotherapy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
In some cases, the eye must be removed.
Removal of the eye is believed to prevent a spread of the tumour from the eyes to the brain and other parts of the body such as lungs and bones.
The tumour is generally believed to be incurable if it has spread outside the eye, while it is known to cause blindness in the eye itself.
New technological advances are being made every day in the treatment of Retinoblastoma, and one of the most common treatments used is cryotherapy, or the freezing of the cancerous tissue.
Children and adults, men and women are all equally susceptible to this type of eye cancer.
Generally the two classifications are intraocular and extraocular retinoblastoma.
These mean simply that the cancer is either localized to the retina, or it has spread throughout the body.
Studies have shown that in the United States and northern Europe areas, retinoblastoma occurs once in every 15,000 to 20,000 births.
About a two quarters of the cases are hereditary and have been linked to a specific gene mutation.
The cancer can occur in one or both eyes.
Fatal if left untreated which is most common, the tumors can spread to the brain via the optic nerve.
Survival Rate of Retinoblastoma
The overall five-year survival rate for children with retinoblastoma in the United States is 93 percent.
The classification of a specific case and how affected the patient’s vision, work to help the medical doctor’s determine a prognosis.
The treatment plan will be developed around these and other factors including the health of the patient and the latest treatment advances.
In order to determine the presence of this cancer in other parts of the body, once retinoblastoma is diagnosed, a lumbar puncture may be performed.
Also, a CT scan or MRI will provide information crucial to the patient’s treatment.