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Retinoblastoma

Cancer that forms in the tissues of the retina (the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue at the back of the eye). Retinoblastoma usually occurs in children younger than 5 years.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the retina.

The retina is the nerve tissue that lines the inside of the back of the eye. The retina senses light and sends images to the brain by way of the optic nerve.

Although retinoblastoma may occur at any age, it usually occurs in children younger than 5 years, most often younger than 2 years. The tumor may be in one eye or in both eyes. Retinoblastoma rarely spreads from the eye to nearby tissue or other parts of the body.

Retinoblastoma occurs in heritable and nonheritable forms.

A child is thought to have the heritable form of retinoblastoma when one of the following is true:

  • There is a family history of retinoblastoma.
  • There is more than one tumor in the eye.
  • There is a certain change in the retinoblastoma gene...

Read more about Retinoblastoma

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Focal laser treatment in addition to chemotherapy for retinoblastoma

The aim of this Cochrane Review was to find out if focal laser therapy in addition to treatment by systemic chemotherapy for retinoblastoma reduces the risk of tumour recurrence.

Systematic review of effectiveness of different treatments for childhood retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a malignant tumour of the retina and usually occurs in children under 2 years old. It is relatively rare, with an incidence of one case per 23,000 live births, and accounts for about 3% of all cancers occurring in children younger than 15 years in the UK. It is an aggressive tumour that can lead to loss of vision, and in extreme cases death, although cure rates in developed countries can be in excess of 90%.

Systematic review of effectiveness of different treatments for childhood retinoblastoma

OBJECTIVES: To assess the clinical effectiveness of treatments for childhood retinoblastoma.

See all (17)

Summaries for consumers

Focal laser treatment in addition to chemotherapy for retinoblastoma

The aim of this Cochrane Review was to find out if focal laser therapy in addition to treatment by systemic chemotherapy for retinoblastoma reduces the risk of tumour recurrence.

Retinoblastoma Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Retinoblastoma treatment may include cryosurgery, laser therapy (thermotherapy), chemotherapy, radiation therapy, high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue, and sometimes surgery. Learn more about newly diagnosed and recurrent retinoblastoma in this expert-reviewed summary.

Cancer-Related Post-traumatic Stress (PDQ®): Patient Version

Cancer-related post-traumatic stress can occur any time from diagnosis to after treatment ends. Shock, fear, helplessness, or horror can be felt by cancer patients and lead to cancer-related post-traumatic stress. Learn about the causes and ways doctors can help manage these symptoms of distress in this expert-reviewed summary.

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Terms to know

Eye
Eyes are the organs of vision. They detect light and convert it.
Genetic
Genetic, used as an adjective, refers to genes.
Optic Nerve
A bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that carries visual messages from the retina to the brain.
Retina
The light-sensitive tissue lining at the back of the eye. The retina converts light into electrical impulses that are sent to the brain through the optic nerve.

More about Retinoblastoma

Photo of a child

See Also: Childhood Cancer

Other terms to know: See all 4
Eye, Genetic, Optic Nerve

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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer

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