RETINOBLASTOMA: EYE CANCER TREATMENT IN CHILDREN
Retinoblastoma is an uncommon type of eye cancer that can affect young children, especially those under the age of 5.
As a parent, the fact that your little child may have cancer is an impossible situation to be in. You may experience sadness, fear, anger, and uncertainty. However, you must know that retinoblastoma has a strong survival rate of over 96% if caught in time and treated. Hence, your allies in this situation are an early diagnosis and proper treatment.
Also, considering that knowledge is power and an early diagnosis is of utmost importance, we are here to give you a few important details about this rare disease.
WHAT IS RETINOBLASTOMA?
Retinoblastoma represents about 4 % of all cancers in children younger than 15 years. Also, it is the most common type of eye cancer in children, mainly under the age of 5.
It may occur in one or both eyes. However, one out of three children presents with cancer in both eyes.
In the early stages of development, the eyes cells called retinoblasts multiply to fill the retina. Later, these cells stop multiplying and turn into mature retinal cells.
Retinoblastoma is secondary to genetic mutations in the nerve cells in the retina. These mutations cause the cells to keep growing and multiplying uncontrollably. Then, this accumulating mass of cells ends up forming a tumor.
With time, retinoblastoma cells can also invade deeper structures into the eye and the surroundings. It can also spread to other parts of the body (metastasis).
Written by Dr Osama Bahsas Zaky
Updated on September 8, 2021