Retinoblastoma is a cancer that develops in young children, with a central location on the eye or eyes. Retinoblastoma is a tumor that develops in young children and it appears in one eye, or the other or sometimes both eyes. This is a dangerous tumor that can affect a child’s vision and can even spread, creating a tumor in the brain as well. The appearance of the eye will have a white haze or white spots to distinguish this tumor. Doctors can usually diagnose children with this tumor relatively early on, but depending on how far the tumor has spread the child may lose one or both of his or her eyes due to this retinoblastoma. There may be more than one tumor and in this case, more care should be placed on treating this problem. Although this is a fast spreading cancer there is a cure and many of those who had retinoblastoma have been cured and still have maintained proper function of their eyesight. However there are two different types of retinoblastoma that can affect your child or children:
1.)Genetic Retinoblastoma-This type is passed from parent to child causing a tumor to develop in one or both of the eyes.
2.) Non-Hereditary Retinoblastoma-This type occurs randomly and there is no hereditary or genetic link to the tumor that a child develops.
Both of these types should be treated with the same fervor, since a tumor can spread very rapidly and cause permanent damage, including but not limited to blindness. No matter what the cause, hereditary or non-hereditary, retinoblastoma is still highly treatable and curable. In some very serious cases, a cure may not be possible. Like any other cancerous tumor, a retinoblastoma tumor, if undetected can spread and cause further damage to the body. The tumor can spread to the brain and bones which may be even harder to treat and nearly impossible to cure, depending on the extent of the spread and the length of time the tumor has been present. Since retinoblastoma is an extremely fast moving cancer, the best treatment for some patients may entail removing the entire eye. This way all of the cancer is completely removed and the tumor is no long in existence to spread or cause any further damage to the rest of the body.
A tumor in the eye is a very serious problem and if your child appears to have any of the symptoms associated with retinoblastoma, you should contact an ophthalmologist right away. An ophthalmologist will be able to help you determine whether or not your child has retinoblastoma and what caused it. You can take a test to figure out whether or not you carry the genetic material that causes this problem to prepare yourself when you decide to have children. If in fact a tumor is discovered, the doctor will be able to provide you with the best possible course of action to ensure your child’s health. Being prepared and always going for routine checkups is a proactive way to ensure that if your child develops retinoblastoma, then the ensuing tumor will be dealt with immediately.