Several treatment options exist for retinoblastoma, however, treatment depends on the severity of the condition and whether or not the child has familial or non-familial retinoblastoma. If the doctor believes the patient can keep any part of their vision, laser therapy, or cryotherapy (freezing cancer cells) may be used.
Of the non-surgical options available, radiation therapy is one of the last resorts employed because of the potential side effects of damage to healthy tissue and the possibility of triggering a new non-ocular tumour (not in the eye) in the case of familial retinoblastoma. Chemotherapy is sometimes used to shrink the tumour before other treatment options are used.
Enucleation, also known as removal of the eye, is done only if a child's vision cannot be saved or if there is a high risk that the cancer will spread.
While there are no preventative measures for retinoblastoma, eye examinations should be considered. Children with a family history of retinoblastoma should be closely followed by an eye specialist until they reach 28 months. If only one eye is affected, periodic screening of the other eye should be conducted by an eye specialist until the age of 7 years. As well, siblings of a child with retinoblastoma should have their eyes routinely checked by an eye specialist.
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