Retinoblastoma: Overview, Symptoms and Treatment Methods
The cancer of the retina the major and important part of the eye is the retinoblastoma cancer.
This is explained as the result of mutations which initiate the tumor formation.
In this both copies of the RB1-gene, that code for the Rb-1 protein are inactivated
Though the occurrence of this cancer is relatively high in children than in adults some cases have also been reported in adults as well. Children younger than 5 years are affected by this retinoblastoma.
Surprisingly it accounts for about 3% of the cancers in children aged below 15 years. According to statistics the children affected by this retinoblastoma is around 4 per million.
Symptoms of Retinoblastoma
There are very few symptoms of retinoblastoma which are given below:
- White spots in the pupil of the eye are seen in the photographs taken with a flash, the difference would instead of the typical "red eye" from the flash
- Poor vision is also one of the symptoms of retinoblastoma
- Crossed eyes
- Redness in the eye which is painful
- The iris may be a different color in each eye.
The tumor may begin in one or both eyes. Initially and in majority of the cases the Retinoblastoma is usually confined to the eye but sometimes it can even spread to the brain via the optic nerve which leads to other symptoms of retinoblastoma. In the later stage loss of vision may occur as the retina is the light-sensitive part of the eye necessary for vision
The retinoblastoma treatment until recently was to remove the affected eyeball before the cancer spread. The method still in progress to treat various cases of unilateral cases is the Enucleation. In the developing countries the disease affects the children with more advanced features thus leading to deaths due to metastatic spread.
There are various methods implemented for treating the retinoblastoma. Some of the most common methods are the chemoreduction and the carboplatin which help to reduce the tumor making it possible to treat them with other local therapies. These local therapies include the laser therapy, cryotherapy, thermotherapy and radiotherapy.
The radiotherapy method of treating the retinoblastoma has its own drawbacks secondary cancerous growths may occur later, the healthy surrounding tissues and cells may be damaged, bone deformation may occur in due course of time because of the damage caused to the platelets from the gamma radiations. The other method of retinoblastoma treatment is the brachytherapy which has given successful results.