What to look for in RB » About Retinoblastoma
Retinoblastoma is lesser known but is the most common eye cancer of the retina affecting kids. It is a silent killer as it may not manifest with any pain or difficulty for the kid; however, if it is untreated, it can cause blindness and even death.
Retinoblastoma is normally found in kids between the 6 months to 5 years of age; however, it can manifest earlier or later in the life of the child. India sees one of the highest incidences of retinoblastoma in the world, with an estimated 1500 new cases annually
Retinoblastoma can be classified in two types:
A) Unilateral Retinoblastoma, tumor present in one eye
B) Bilateral Retinoblastoma with the tumor present in both the eyes.
Those who have retinoblastoma in one eye have minimal risk for other tumors; however, they are still at risk for spread of the tumor.
In Bilateral Retinoblastoma, the risk of the spread of the cancer to other sites in the body is much higher leading to other types of secondary cancers and these may spread to either brain or other body parts.
Retinoblastoma occurs due to the mutation in chromosome 13 (when the embryo is in the womb of the mother), but the exact cause of this mutation is not known.
Hereditary and Nonhereditary Retinoblastoma
Retinoblastoma can be passed from the genes of the parents which is case the RB1 gene is present in the child resulting in retinoblastoma, such type of cancers have a higher chance of secondary cancers.
Nonhereditary Retinoblastoma cases are where there is no family history of retinoblastoma and the cause of gene mutation is not known.