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Symptoms, Stages, and Treatments for Retinoblastoma

Eye lens capture light from outer environment and retina is mainly responsible for converting this light into neural signals which a brain can understand. Brain identifies the type of signal and enables an individual to see the world. Retinoblastoma is a cancer of eye that emerges from abnormalities in retina cells and surrounding tissues. It adversely affects healthy cells and accelerates the growth of malignant cells in retina. Retinoblastoma is most commonly observed in kids that are below age category of six years. It may damage eyes to a large extent and eventually lead to complete loss of vision. It clearly indicates that early treatment of this cancer is extremely crucial. Parents must visit a pediatric oncologist immediately to help save their beloved children from serious complications.

retinoblastoma

Signs and Symptoms of Retinoblastoma 

The following list conveys some major signs and symptoms of retinoblastoma. 

White Colored Pupil – A white colored dot in center of eye known as pupil is the most common indication of retinoblastoma. Parents must contact a doctor right away on observing such sign.

Lazy Eye Condition – Child’s eye may appear as if they are looking at different directions at same instant of time. This condition is termed as lazy eye condition. It is most common symptom of retinoblastoma. 

Vision Problems – Child affected with retinoblastoma may encounter vision problems such as blurred vision or partial loss of vision. 

Eye Redness and Swelling – Parents should visit a pediatric doctor if they observe redness and swelling around child’s eye for more than a week. 

There are no known causes of retinoblastoma. However, healthcare professionals believe that it may occur due to genetic mutation of cells in retina.

Diagnosing Retinoblastoma Eye Cancer 

Parents should look out for a well-experienced pediatric eye specialist to increase the possibility of successful results following medical treatment of their child. Respective eye specialist may advise the below tests to identify the underlying eye condition.

Eye Evaluation – Doctors may ask parents regarding the symptoms that their children are experiencing.  They may also request them to reveal child’s medical history for a thorough eye inspection. Parents should frankly reveal everything to doctor. It will considerably help in diagnosis procedure. 

Imaging Tests – Children may have to undergo imaging procedures like MRI scan or a CT scan. These techniques help in generating precise images of retina and nearby cells or tissues which help a doctor to see whether any abnormality is present or not. Parents need not worry because computed tomography (CT scan), as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) both, are painless procedures. In addition to this, doctors take various measures that ensure safety of children. 

Stages of Retinoblastoma 

Retinoblastoma is mainly classified into two stages namely intraocular retinoblastoma and extraocular retinoblastoma.

Intraocular retinoblastoma – It signifies primary stage where cancer has not reached beyond eye of children. Depending on dimensions of tumor, it is further classified into following five sub-groups.

  • Group A – Extremely small tumors in retina, mostly less than 3 mm in size belong to group A.
  • Group B – These tumors could be either small or large. They are located near center of retina.
  • Group C – Tumors that have spread in nearby region of retina are placed in this group.
  • Group D – Tumors that have spread in whole retina except the lens are placed in group D.
  • Group E – Tumors which have spread up to pupil and lens are group E tumors. 

Extraocular Retinoblastoma – It refers to an advanced stage of eye cancer where it has spread beyond eye of children. Apart from eye, unusual cells may metastasize and affect other body organs. 

Treatment Options for Retinoblastoma 

Treatment for retinoblastoma will vary according to their stage and size. Surgeons will analyze diagnosis report of children and decide most beneficial treatment method. 

Treatments for Small-Sized Tumors – The following treatments can effectively deal with small-sized retinoblastoma tumors. 

  • Cryotherapy – Cryotherapy is also referred to as ‘cold cancer treatment’. It uses extremely cold temperature to serve the purpose of wiping out retinoblastoma tumor. It mainly involves cold substances such as liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the cancer-causing cells completely. Children may need to undergo several cryotherapy sessions to get rid of retinoblastoma.
  • Laser Photocoagulation – Also known as ‘laser therapy’, laser photocoagulation is a widely used procedure that uses highly focused laser beam for destroying cancerous tissues in retina. 
  • Thermotherapy – Thermotherapy involves use of heat energy to kill the abnormal cells in retina. Generally, heat energy is directed towards retinoblastoma tumor with the help of ultrasound. In some instances, lasers and microwaves can also be used. 

Treatments for Large-Sized Tumors – The given list describes major treatment options for large-sized retinoblastoma tumors. 

  • Eye Surgery – An advanced stage retinoblastoma tumor which has spread to entire eye of child may be treated with an eye surgery. Respective oncologists may decide to perform a clinical procedure to remove the damaged eye and implant an artificial eye to help restore their vision. Children will be able to see normally within a few months of surgery. 
  • Radiation Therapy – A radiation therapy involves targeting high-intensity rays on the retinoblastoma tumor. It is a painless procedure which can kill the cancerous tissues in eyes and stop their growth to a great extent. During radiation therapy, children are exposed to radiation machine under supervision of respective surgeons. It may cause side-effects such as dryness in eyes, fatigue, and nausea in future. Therefore, parents must consult regarding such consequences with surgeons in advance. 
  • Chemotherapy – Chemo drugs can destroy cancerous cells in retina. During chemotherapy procedure, children are given powerful drugs and medicines either orally or intravenously which are capable of delivering desired results. In some instances, surgeons may combine this procedure with radiation therapy to get best outcomes. However, it may cause side-effects such as hair loss, constipation, and appetite changes in children.

Risks and Complications Following Retinoblastoma Treatment 

The given points describe common risks and complications associated with retinoblastoma treatment. 

  • Changes in Vision – Children may develop eyesight problems in future. Regular eye checkups can help prevent such problems. 
  • Heart Problems – It has been observed that children who have had retinoblastoma treatment become more prone to heart-related diseases. 
  • Delayed Growth – Children may have to face delayed growth and they may get fertility problems as well when they grow up. 
  • Probability of Other Cancers – Retinoblastoma survivors are at a higher risk of getting other cancers.

Parents must stay in touch with doctors and attend follow-up care sessions to minimize the chances of such complications.

Recovery Following Retinoblastoma Treatment 

Recovery following retinoblastoma treatment will be based on various factors such as stage of cancer, type of treatment, child’s overall health, and postoperative care. Parents will have to stay extremely careful and follow each and every instruction of respective doctors. They should encourage children to eat only nutritious food. In addition to this, they should give them prescribed medicines on time and take them to hospital for follow-up meetings. These guidelines will significantly help their children to recover smoothly. 

Avail World-Class Retinoblastoma Treatment with IndianMedTrip 

IndianMedTrip is one of the highly acknowledged medical tourism facilitators across India. Healthcare consultants at IndianMedTrip dedicatedly help overseas patients to get finest cancer treatments including retinoblastoma treatment in India at cost-effective rates. They offer a free online medical consultation before patients fly down to India and assist them even after retinoblastoma treatment until they get healthy. They primarily focus on providing best possible care to international guests under the guidance of top-oncologists in India. One of the biggest advantages is that retinoblastoma treatment cost will be nearly one-third of the total money which other countries normally demand from patients. Therefore, international patients can truly depend on unmatched medical facilities of IndianMedTrip and get high-quality retinoblastoma treatment in India in a hassle-free way.

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