Retinoblastoma


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Retinoblastoma is an extremely dangerous and insidious cancer of the eye that occurs in the retina – the sensitive lining on the inside of the eye. It is an eye disease that most often affects children, but in rare cases also occurs in adults.

The retina of the eye consists of nerve tissue that reacts to the light that passes through the eye. It sends signals to the brain through the optic nerve, which results in visualization.

Retinoblastoma is a highly rare form of cancer that can occur in one or both eyes.

Symptoms of Retinoblastoma

Because retinoblastoma tumors occur mainly in young children, the symptoms of the disease are difficult to see in the first stages of the disease. Among the signs that can be seen can be mentioned:

  • color white circle in the middle of the eye (pupil) – usually they can be seen when there is a shining light reflecting in the eye, for example when shooting with flash,
  • the eyes seem to move in different directions,
  • appears redness of the eyes,
  • there is swelling of the eye.

There may also be other symptoms, which are also associated with other eye diseases, so it is important to exclude them earlier. In the case of a family history of retinoblastoma appearance, you should perform regular tests of the retina to detect the disease as soon as possible.

The causes of retinoblastoma

This incredibly insidious tumor appears when nerve cells in the retina develop genetic mutations. These mutations result in the growth and proliferation of cancer cells, which destroy healthy cells of the eye. The growing mass of cells forms a tumor.

Tumor cells of the eye can penetrate into the eye and surrounding structures of it. Retinoblastoma can also spread to other areas of the body including the brain and spine. In most cases, it is not clear what causes genetic mutations leading to the appearance of retinoblastoma, but it is mostly a genetic issue – children inherit a genetic mutation from their parents. In children with the inherited form of retinoblastoma, a disease usually develops at an early age.

Children who are treated for cancer very often have recurrences, and regular eye checks are necessary. Unfortunately, the emergence of retinoblastoma carries the risk of developing other types of cancer in any other part of the body hence the disease affected by this form of cancer requires constant monitoring.

Diagnosis and treatment of retinoblastoma

To diagnose the disease, the doctor performs a thorough eye examination that often requires anesthesia in young children. Then executed are different kinds of imaging tests, to assess the development of retinoblastoma and its influence on other structures around the eyes. Imaging studies may include, among others ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Because retinoblastoma is a highly malignant form of cancer, it is important to consult other doctors including oncologists, genetic counselors or surgeons.


Treatment of cancer depends on its size and location. If possible, the doctor is working to save the child’s eyesight.

The most common form of cancer treatment is chemotherapy – a pharmacological treatment that can kill cancer cells, either in the form of tablets or through blood vessels. In children with retinoblastoma, chemotherapy may reduce the tumor, but also are applied other treatments as radiation therapy (treatment with radiation of high intensity energy), cryotherapy (treatment with the use of low temperature), thermotherapy treatment (treatment by means of high temperature), or laser therapy (destruction of the blood vessels using laser), which allow to remove the residue of cancer cells.

In the case of the large retinal implantation of artificial.

The diagnosis of cancer is a challenging moment, unfortunately, is not a disease that can be prevented. Performing genetic tests can help predict the risk of illness.

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