An Insider Look on Pediatric Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer affecting the retina, a thin membrane behind the pupil of the eye. A child may be diagnosed of pediatric retinoblastoma as early as 18 months. This type of eye cancer may be hereditary or non-hereditary. If left untreated, the tumor can spread throughout the retina, vitreous or fluid inside the eyes, eye socket, even the optic nerve and the brain. It can also spread to the bones and the bone marrow.


About forty percent of patients suffering from retinoblastoma have genetic defects which lead to multiple tumors affecting one or both eyes. It is commonly known as germline retinoblastoma or hereditary. These children are usually diagnosed before they reach 1 year old. And these patients may pass this condition to their future children. Patients diagnosed with eye cancer have higher possibility of developing other types of cancer.


About sixty percent of the patients have non-hereditary pediatric retinoblastoma. Mostly like, these patients have developed tumor in one eye only. On average, this tumor can be diagnosed on two-year-old children.

Retinoblastoma Treatment

Surgery is performed to remove the affected eye in cases of patients having advanced retinoblastoma. If only one eye is affected and is removed, above 90 percent of patients no longer need more treatment thereafter. However, if both eyes are affected, only one eye is removed, and the rest of the treatment will be focused on saving the other eye. If tumor has spread into tissues around the eyes or eye socket, chemotherapy is administered to patients after the surgery.

Chemotherapy uses strong medicines through injection to kill the cancer cells, stop their growth, and avoid growing more cancer cells. Periocular injection is a local treatment to focus on the affected eye. Injection can also be done in the blood stream, for the medicine to protect the body, preventing cancer cells to spread in other parts. Using chemotherapy alone cannot cure this eye cancer, and patients receive another treatment called focal therapy.

Focal therapy is a laser treatment therapy or cryotherapy while the patient is under anesthesia. This kind of treatment may be continued even after chemotherapy has been completed. In some cases, tumors developed in the eyes, if relatively small, are treated with focal therapy only.

Radiation therapy uses X-rays with high-energy or radiation, killing cancer cells or stopping their growth. This type of treatment is only reserved in case patients have not responded well to other therapies. One type is external radiation which uses a machine to deliver X-ray dose. Another is internal radiation which uses needles, wires or tubes to deliver radiation directly to the part of the body affected by cancer.

Kids with eye cancer deserve the best treatment prior to early and proper diagnosis. If the patient has not received proper diagnosis and treatment, the family may seek legal assistance by calling 888-726-6735 today.