Retinoblastoma, a type of cancer, develops in the retina of the eye. The retina is a specialized light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that detects light and color. It is a rare cancer and usually affects children under the age of 5 years. Retinoblastoma is curable if diagnosed early.
Types of Retinoblastoma
Retinoblastoma is categorized into two types:
- Non-hereditary retinoblastoma: It is also known as sporadic retinoblastoma. About 60% of cases are affected by non-hereditary retinoblastoma. It is caused due to mutations in a gene, RB1, after birth.
- Hereditary retinoblastoma: The retinoblastoma is passed from parents to their children. About 40% of children are affected by hereditary retinoblastoma. Abnormality in gene RB1 is caused in an egg or sperm before a baby is conceived.
Symptoms of Retinoblastoma
Symptoms experienced by the patients with retinoblastoma are:
- White reflection in the pupil
- A squint
- Crossed eyes
- Change in color of the iris
- A red or inflamed eye
- Poor vision
- Swelling of the eyelids
If a child experiences one or more of the above symptoms, consult with the doctor for retinoblastoma treatment in Nashik.
Causes of Retinoblastoma
Genetic mutation in the nerve cells may result in neuroblastoma. However, the exact cause of these genetic mutations is unknown. The risk in the child increases if one of the parents suffers from a congenital (heritable) form of retinoblastoma.
Diagnosis of Retinoblastoma
Following are some diagnostic techniques for retinoblastoma:
- Eye examination: The doctor will comprehensively examine the eye of the child to find the cause of signs and symptoms.
- Ultrasound: The doctor uses an ultrasound probe placed on the eyeball or against the eyelid. It is a common technique that may confirm the diagnosis of retinoblastoma.
- Imaging tests: MRI and CT scans are done by the doctors to determine the extent of the spread of retinoblastoma.
- Bone scan: The doctor performs the bone scan to determine the spread of retinoblastoma to the skull and other bones.
- Genetic testing: The patient may undergo genetic testing to confirm the type of retinoblastoma present (inheritable or non-inheritable).
Treatment for Retinoblastoma
The child must receive the best retinoblastoma treatment in Nashik, Maharashtra. The doctor may manage retinoblastoma through the following treatment options:
Surgery: Surgery that includes removing an eye is called enucleation. Removing both eyes is only considered when there is no chance to preserve the patient’s vision. Enucleation is the best option to treat this cancer completely. However, it can cause trouble with depth perception and eyesight. Parents worried about the looks of their children after surgery can opt for artificial cosmetic surgery that fills the empty area of an eye.
Plaque radiotherapy: Plaque radiotherapy includes radioactive seeds attached to one side of the disc. The disc, known as plaque, is placed outside the eyewall near the tumor. The side contains plaque faces on the eyewall that release radiation limited to the tumor cells. These radiations do not cause any harm to nearby tissue.
Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy involves extreme cold to destroy cancer cells. A small metal probe is used that is cooled below the temperature. The metal probe is placed on the surfaces of the eye near the cancer cells to kill them through freezing. The therapy is useful for small retinoblastoma that occurs in the front of the eye.
Thermotherapy: The therapy uses heat to kill cancer cells. Thermotherapy is usually enough to treat small tumors. It involves laser beams.
Chemotherapy: There are two types of chemotherapy used to treat retinoblastoma: systemic and regional. In systemic chemotherapy, the drugs are taken through the mouth or injected into veins or muscles. Regional chemotherapy allows the drugs to inject directly into the eye through intravitreal injection. The doctor may also perform intra-arterial chemotherapy in which the drug is injected directly into the blood vessel supplying blood to the eye.
Bone marrow transplantation: Sometimes, the doctor uses bone marrow transplantation to manage retinoblastoma. It is used when cancer spreads to other body organs, is nonresponsive to other treatments, or there is a recurrence of retinoblastoma. Bone marrow transplantation or stem cell transplantation uses high-dose chemotherapy to kill cancer before the transplantation of bone marrow. The treatment approach for retinoblastoma has few side effects, such as infection, low blood counts, digestive system problems, and graft-versus-host disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the prognosis of retinoblastoma?
The 5-year survival rate of retinoblastoma is usually high and is 96%. About 9 out of 10 children with retinoblastoma can be cured completely. The survival rate for retinoblastoma mainly depends on its spread to other organs.
2. What are the side effects of retinoblastoma treatment?
Some kids may experience few side effects of the treatment of retinoblastoma. The treatment includes chemotherapy, which can cause side effects like nausea, weakness, dizziness, or fever. Radiation treatment for retinoblastoma might make your child tired. It can also cause red or dry skin on the treated area.
3. My child has been diagnosed with retinoblastoma. Should he need to wear protective eyewear?
Yes, retinoblastoma may affect your child’s vision. Protective glasses are necessary for children with an eye. Glasses protect from further injury during playing or outdoor activities.
4. Can a child regain vision through transplantation if the eye is removed during surgery for retinoblastoma?
No, an eye transplant cannot help your child to regain vision. The surgery only replaces the outer layer of the eye, the cornea. The whole eye cannot be transplanted.