Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer. It develops in the retina and occurs almost exclusively in childhood. In most cases, only one eye is affected; both eyes are affected in less than one third of children.
Retinoblastomas usually grow quickly. They can spread within the eyeball and, from there, also into the eye socket and along the optic nerve into the central nervous system. In an advanced stage of the disease, they also seek access to other organs via the blood and/or lymph system. If left untreated, the disease is almost always fatal. With early diagnosis and correct treatment, virtually all children can be cured.
Offering the best quality of life for affected children is her highest priority
Prof. Maja Beck Popovic, head doctor of paediatric oncology at the University Hospital in Lausanne (CHUV)
The cause for the development of a retinoblastoma is a double genetic change (mutation) in the retinal precursor cells, the retinoblasts.
The most common initial symptom is a white light in the pupil in a flash photo as opposed to a red or a black pupil in a healthy eye. This can be seen in more than two thirds of children with the disease. A simple flash photo can show parents that their child might have retinoblastoma. And there are other warning signs:
- Change in the colour of the iris
- Deterioration of vision
- Signs of cross-eyedness
- Reddened and inflamed eye
The appearance of one or more of these signs does not necessarily mean retinoblastoma. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible to clarify the cause.
Detailed information can be found on the website of the Children’s Eye Cancer Foundation Germany KAKS: kinderaugenkrebsstiftung.de/en/homepage/
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Children’s Eye Cancer Foundation Germany KAKS for their cooperation and the provision of photo and video material.