Retinoblastoma is an unusual cancer of the eye, which starts in the retina. The retina is the light detecting portion of the eye. There are fewer than 200,000 cases in the United States per year and considered rare. However, of the ocular cancers this is the most common form of malignant disease among young children. Retinoblastoma is usually diagnosed in early childhood before the age of 5. The condition typically effects one eye and can be life threatening and dangerous. If left untreated the retinoblastoma tumors spread in the eyeball. In addition, cells may migrate to other parts of the body away from the retina.
There are two types of disease, the first is hereditary and the other is non-inherited. Since there is no known method to prevent retinoblastoma, some parents opt for genetic testing, since the condition has a hereditary component. The statistics demonstrate that a patient who carries the gene for the disease will have an 80% risk of progressing to retinoblastoma. Additionally, they have a 50% risk that their child will develop the disease.
There is suggestive evidence that there may be an increased risk in individuals with a
• Low fruits and vegetable diet during pregnancy
• Exposure to gasoline, diesel exhaust and other chemicals during pregnancy
• Exposure to radiation from the father’s side
• Advancing age of the father’s
Signs and symptoms can include uncoordinated eye movements and alterations in the color of the eyes. In children, the diagnosis is made during a standard eye exam. If retinoblastoma is suspected, the doctor will order lab work as well as imaging with CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound. Once the diagnosis is confirmed and treatment started there must be annual eye exams. Treatment plans are generated from your medical professional and can last many months or years.
Always seek out a trained and licensed medical professional. Your health is a primary concern.