Retinoblastoma is a rare eye cancer, mainly affecting children under the age of 5.
It affects one in every 20,000 children which means around 45 to 50 children per year in the United Kingdom.
In about two-thirds of children only one eye is affected but in about one-third tumours develop in both eyes.
Retinoblastoma can be detected in a number of ways. Some children will develop a squint and a tumour is found when their eyes are checked. Other children will have a white appearance to their pupil which can indicate the presence of a tumour.
As one of the two retinoblastoma treatment centres in the UK we see affected children every week. The team is multi-disciplinary and comprises ophthalmologists, oncologists, orthoptists, specialist nurses, play specialists, a clinical psychologist and a genetics team. Members of the team will meet with the family to discuss the diagnosis and then start treatment as soon as possible.
There are several ways the tumour can be treated, including chemotherapy, removal of an eye, laser treatment, freezing treatment, and radiotherapy. Each child will have tumours or a tumour that is specific to them as an individual and therefore we will take time to discuss with each family which treatment is appropriate for their child.