Active Health: Retinoblastoma is Difficult to Spot, So Be Aware and Report Early

World Eye Cancer Hope had organised an event to mark World Retinoblastoma Week from May 12th to 18th, 2019, at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology.

Retinoblastoma is a kind of eye cancer observed in children. The awareness about the condition is very low among people, which directly affects its spotting and diagnosis.

One must make note of the following symptoms to identify Retinoblastoma:

  1. White dot or patch on the eyeball, sometimes these may not be easily seen
  2. Squint eyes should be treated at the earliest because they are also one of the causes of Retinoblastoma
  3. Another way to find out about Retinoblastoma is through photos. Usually, unaffected eyes will look red when facing a camera but eyes with Retinoblastoma will look like white patches. These affected eyes will also be painful, be reddish, and look bigger or sometimes smaller than usual
  4. Marriages between close relatives is a genetic reason for causing Retinoblastoma in children
  5. The symptoms can be noticed in one eye or both the eyes

Treatment for Retinoblastoma:

For long, no treatment was available for Retinoblastoma but today, it can be cured if spotted at the right time. Doctors say that there are five stages of the condition and if children are treated when it is in the third stage, the rate of recovery will be high. In the fourth and fifth stages, treatment becomes difficult and less successful.

Usually, if the Retinoblastoma is only on the eye, then it can be cured but if it enters the eye, it can affect other parts of the body as well. Cancer cells can reach other body parts and develop into harmful diseases. Treatment depends on the stage at which the patient comes in. Doctors first check if the treatment can be commenced with not removing the eyeball. Many people wonder if an eyeball, after being removed, can be replaced with another eyeball, but the fact is that, once an eyeball is removed due to Retinoblastoma, then it can not be replaced. But, using plastic surgery and other procedures, the eye can be made to look close to real, but the eyesight cannot be restored.

Around the world, around 1,000 people are diagnosed with the condition per year. BPL card services and other facilities are available for affected children from families living below the poverty line. Disability certificates are also provided to affected children. At Retinoblastoma camps, training sessions are held for ASHA Workers, Anganawadi Teachers, and Primary Health Center Doctors. ASHA Workers and teachers are trained to identify children with the condition and provide early treatment.

As it is difficult to identify, parents should keep a note of Retinoblastoma symptoms and observe their children’s eyes well.

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