Retinoblastoma – Eye Cancer in Children



A retinoblastoma is an unusual form of childhood cancer that occurs in the retina of the eye. The disease is often detected before the child reaches the age of two.

Retinoblastoma on both eyes means that the cancer is hereditary. The parent who has passed on their offspring to the child need not have had the disease himself. Half of all children of a parent with hereditary retinoblastoma are at risk of contracting the disease. Those children who have had hereditary retinoblastoma are at increased risk for other cancer tumors later in life and should, therefore, undergo regular checkups.

Almost all children who get retinoblastoma get rid of the disease. The treatment for retinoblastoma does not have to lead to a visual impairment, but it depends entirely on where the disease is and how it is treated.

Symptoms of Retinoblastoma

The symptoms of retinoblastoma can be diffuse and difficult to interpret. Sometimes the child’s black pupil can change its appearance and become more whitish or white-yellow. Other symptoms may be that the child’s pupil gleams at certain angles when the lighting is dim. The fact that the child discriminates with the eyes can also be a symptom of an eye tumor, but it is a very rare cause of acne in children.

Treatment for Retinoblastoma

The treatment the child receives depends on the size of the cancer tumor and whether it is in one eye or in both. The usual thing is that the child gets cytostatics and that the eye is treated with, for example, surgery, with laser or with cold, also called cryotherapy. Some children also need radiation treatment. in children .

After the treatment for retinoblastoma, the child needs to go through frequent post-checks to see if the disease is completely gone. Young children are examined while they are anesthetized while children from four or five years of age can pass the examination while awake. At the age of seven or eight, most children are usually able to stop the checks. Children who have received radiotherapy may go on controls even in adulthood because radiation therapy can involve complications that come later in life.

Almost all children get rid of the disease. How the treatment affects the child’s vision depends on the size of the cancer tumor and where it has been sitting. If the child gets a visual impairment, it does not mean a major disability in adulthood. You can, for example, take a driving license even with the sight of just one eye.

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