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What is Retinoblastoma – Treatment, Prevention, Facts and Statistics

11 percent of children below the age of one year suffer from a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma in the United States. In one out of every three cases, the cancer spreads from one to the another. In 40 percent of cases of this cancer, the cancer affects organs outside the eyes too. Such a form of this cancer is known as genital retinoblastoma which can be inherited from one generation to another. This article tries to understand the treatment and prevention methods of this dreadful cancer.

Treatment of Retinoblastoma:

  • When detected early, it is a highly treatable cancer.
  • With 95-98 percent, it has one of the best cure rates of all childhood cancers.
  • Nine out of every ten children suffering from this cancer survive into adulthood.
  • In the initial stages, the life of the child is tried to be protected as part of the treatment.
  • In the next stage, the vision is tried to be preserved and the final stage comprises of decreasing the side-effects and complications associated with the treatment.
  • The status of the case as decided by the Opthalmologist decides the exact course of treatment along with the consent of a Paediatric Oncologist.
  • Chemotherapy, laser therapy, cryotherapy, surgery, radioactive plaques and external beam radiotherapy are the available treatment options.
  • A combination of these treatment is also considered to address the disease.
  • Efforts are on to replace radiation therapy and enucleation with other effective by less painful treatment techniques.

Prevention of Retinoblastoma:

  • There is no proven method of prevention for this disease because of its genetic origin.
  • As in 40 percent of the cases, the cancer can be inherited from one generation to another, it is important the awareness about this cancer spreads all over.
  • Genetic testing can diagnose this disease early and it can be cured in time.
  • A genetic counsellor can be consulted to know more about the disease when a child from the family is diagnosed with this cancer.

Facts and Statistics on Retinoblastoma:

  • Retinoblastoma can occur equally in both the eyes, in boys and girls without any gender or race preference.
  • The average age of a child to be diagnosed with this cancer is 2 years.
  • In 2 out of 3 cases of this disease, the cancer is limited to only one eye.

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