What is it?
Retinoblastoma is a form of cancer resulting from uncontrolled growth of cells in the retina. If the child is born with the cancer, he or she will likely present with the disease in both eyes. Patients with retinoblastoma experience pain and some degree of blindness. The cancer does not typically spread to the rest of the body because the severity of the symptoms is a sufficient indicator of the condition, prompting the patient to receive treatment. Treatments for eye tumors may involve radiotherapy, chemotherapy, laser therapy, targeted therapy, or surgery.
How to Prepare
Cancer treatment is an emotionally and physically demanding process. It is important that the patient has a strong support system of family members and friends. The patient should make accommodations in his or her home to prepare for the side effects of cancer treatment. If the patient’s eye requires surgical removal, he or she should schedule follow-up appointments to receive vision therapy.
What happens during the procedure?
Depending on the progression of the tumor and the patient’s health status, different treatment options may be used. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, laser therapy, and targeted therapy are all options for patients who are hoping to preserve proper function of the eyes. If the cancer is severe, these options may not be possible. If the cancer has grown too aggressive or has grown too large, the eye is surgically removed. A prosthetic eye replaces the diseased eye to maintain a normal appearance.
Risks and Complications
* Pain or soreness at the surgical site
* Allergic reaction to medication
* Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting (chemotherapy)
* Blood disorders
* Hair loss
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