What is Retinoblastoma?
Retinoblastoma is an optical cancer disease that starts in the retina, the sensitive innermost layer of the eye. Although retinoblastoma is more prevalent in young children, it can also affect adults. This situation can occur in one or both the eyes of the individual.
This disease impacts the eyes of a person.
Causes of Retinoblastoma
The major reasons that cause this condition of Retinoblastoma in children and other individuals are:
- Gene Mutation: Mutation in the RB1 genes is the major cause that leads to Retinoblastoma. Due to these mutations, the cells start multiplying rapidly. These rapidly increasing cells accumulate together and cause a tumor which is known as Retinoblastoma.
- Hereditary: Also, in some cases, these mutations are passed on through generations, and a child can inherit these mutations from their parents. Children who have inherited Retinoblastoma from their parents tend to develop this disease at a very early age.
Signs and Symptoms of Retinoblastoma
The following are the signs and symptoms of Retinoblastoma:
- The main symptom or sign of Retinoblastoma is a deformation in the affected individual's eyes. When light is reflected on the affected person's normal black pupil, it appears white.
- Another symptom of this condition is an eye that is bigger than usual.
- In the middle of the eyes, there is cloudiness and discolouration.
- Pain in the eyes.
- Eyes that seem to be looking in several directions.
Risk Factors of Retinoblastoma
Treatment of retinoblastoma can also have some complications.
- The children who were treated for retinoblastoma have the risk of returning the tumor or cancer around the infected area.
- Regular checkups must be done by the doctors to prevent this return of cancer.
- Children who have inherited retinoblastoma from their parents are at risk of developing other kinds of cancers as well.
If you are experiencing the above-mentioned signs of retinoblastoma, then you must visit a doctor. The doctors diagnose this cancer by looking carefully inside the eye with a torchlight and a magnifying glass.
Various diagnostic tests
- Ultrasound Test: An ultrasound test is used to create pictures of the child’s eye.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): With this MRI test, powerful magnets and sound waves are used to get clear pictures of the eye.
- CT scan is also used to gather more information.
Treatments of Retinoblastoma
The treatment for retinoblastoma must be done as soon as cancer or tumor is detected. Some of the most popular treatments are:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a medicinal treatment that is used to shrink cancer or cancerous cells which have spread in a child’s eyes. In this treatment, medicines are either taken orally or are injected directly into the veins of the patient.
- Cryotherapy: Another type of treatment is Cryotherapy. In this treatment, cancer cells are touched with a freezing metal and are killed. This therapy is most useful in cases of smaller tumors around the front of the eye.
- Thermotherapy: In this treatment, cancer cells are treated with a special laser of heat.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation Therapy is another treatment of retinoblastoma in which high-power energy, such as X-rays or protons, is used to kill cancer cells.
- Surgery: If any of the above-mentioned treatments are not successful on the patient, then the last resolve that remains is the surgery.
Stages of Retinoblastoma
Following a diagnosis of retinoblastoma, tests are performed to determine whether cancer cells have spread within the eye or to other parts of the body. To understand the stages of this cancer, the International Retinoblastoma Staging System (IRSS) might be utilized.
Stage 0: Tumor is only in the eye. Treatment was done without surgery and removal of the eye.
Stage I: Tumor was only in the eye and has been treated with surgery and removal of the eye. No cancer cells are left.
Stage II: Tumor was in the eye only. The eye was removed with surgery but cancer cells are still left which are visible under a microscope.
Stage III: In this stage, there are two possibilities. Either cancer has spread from the eyes to the tissues around the eye socket or cancer has spread from the eye to the lymph nodes near the ear.
Stage IV: In the last stage of retinoblastoma, there are two possibilities. Either cancer has spread to the bone or liver, or it has affected the brain or spinal cord of the individual.
Retinoblastoma disease can spread in the body in three main forms.
Preventions Tips For Retinoblastoma
Since the doctors are not sure about what causes most cases of retinoblastoma, there is no known way to avoid this disease. The disease can not be prevented completely, but there are some precautions that can be taken for this.
- If your child has retinoblastoma, your doctor may suggest genetic testing to see if the cancer was caused by an inherited gene mutation. Your doctor may recommend that you consult with a genetic counselor, who can assist you in deciding whether to have genetic testing done.
- Families can learn whether their children are at an elevated risk of retinoblastoma through genetic testing, and medical care can be tailored accordingly. Eye exams, for example, may begin immediately after birth or, in certain cases, even before the infant is born. In that manner, retinoblastoma can be detected early on, when the tumor is small, and there would still be hope for a cure and vision preservation.
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