The cost of treating retinoblastoma cancer in India varies from one state to another and upon several factors, such as the specialty of the oncologist and the health care experts, the condition and the severity of the disease, time, and procedures required for the treatment of the disease and many others.
What is Retinoblastoma Cancer?
Retinoblastoma cancer is a type of malignancy that generally occurs in the portion of the eye known as ‘retina’ and this is a primary ocular cancer that is usually found to occur among children and young babies who are below the age of 2 or 3 years. Though there are faint chances of children getting affected with retinoblastoma cancer after the age of 6 years, this might happen rarely.
Retina, one of the most vital portions of the eyes, is a lining or a portion of the eye that is made of bundles of nerve cells and sensory tissues, highly sensitive and remains in the internal portion of the eyes which helps to receive light rays and makes it easy for the brain to identify images with the help of messages sent through the optic neurons. Though it is quite a rare form of cancer, this cancer, just like any other type of cancer can prove to be deadly if left untreated for a long time. Retinoblastoma cancer occurs in the form of a cancerous lump or tumor that gradually develops and spreads all over the eyes and affects eyesight.
Retinoblastoma cancer is often found to occur in both eyes and disrupts eyesight among young children. But there is nothing to worry about this because this type of cancer among children can be easily treated using several methods of surgery and chemotherapy if only the disease is detected early.
Symptoms Of Rhetinoblastoma Cancer
Just like any other form of cancer, retinoblastoma cancer also does not show any kind of significant or noticeable symptoms in the early stages. So, it becomes quite difficult to make out whether a child has been affected by retinoblastoma cancer. The symptoms start to occur in the body at the later stages but by that time the disease has already spread to a huge extent and it requires a major effort on the part of the health care experts and concerned oncologists to treat the disease at such advanced stages. But there are certain common symptoms of retinoblastoma cancer. Some such symptoms are as follows:
- Lack of proper vision
- Pupils remain wide open
- Mild to severe pain in the eye
- A crossed eye syndrome starts developing in the child
- The size of the pupil will become abnormally enlarged
- The shape and size of the eyes appear larger and weird than normal
- The pupil gradually turns white and the normal black or brown color of the pupil starts disappearing or fades away slowly
- The color of the iris changes
- A temporary squint of the eyes
- Constant irritation in the eyes
- The color of the center of the eyes starts fading away, forming a cloudiness
- The color of the eye may turn red- this might occur either in one or both the eyes
- The eyeballs do not move equally focus on one particular direction
- Eye blood vessels at the back do not reflect the red color due to the formation of the cancerous tumor
Stages Of Rhetinoblastoma Cancer
Just similar to other forms of cancer, retinoblastoma cancer has also been divided into 4 stages by oncologists and health care experts, depending upon several factors such as the severity of the disease, treatability of the disease, condition of the patient, and many others. The different stages of retinoblastoma cancer can be listed here as follows:
This is the very first stage of cancer when the disease has just started affecting the eyes and has just entered the retina.
In the second stage of the retinoblastoma cancer a tumor has started developing within the eye and has started affecting the child’s vision.
Cancer has started spreading into the surrounding areas of the eye, such as the pupil, iris, and many other portions, and has started damaging the neurons.
This is the most dangerous stage of retinoblastoma cancer when the cancer is quite difficult to treat and has already damaged most of the eyesight of the child.
Causes Of Retinoblastoma Cancer
Though there is no specific reason behind the formation of retinoblastoma cancer in a child, the most probable cause predicted by oncologists and health care experts is that abnormality in genetic mutation and recombination since the time of their birth. This is because the retinoblasts cells already start developing in eyes of the baby before the retina grows. Due to genetic abnormalities and due to uncontrolled and unusual growth of these cells retinoblastoma cancer might occur in a child.
Diagnosis Of Retinoblastoma Cancer
Diagnosis occupies an important part of treating any kind of cancer. Proper diagnosis is the only way that helps in the proper and correct treatment of the disease. For treating and the diagnosis of the retinoblastoma cancer disease in the body, your concerned oncologists and health care experts might advise you to undergo certain necessary tests related to the retinoblastoma cancer that will effectively help to detect cancer. Some of the diagnosis-related tests and procedures are as follows:
Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An ultrasound is a test that is carried out to check the growth of cancer cells and the development of the tumor with the use of ultrasound waves.
Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
A CT scan is another such test that uses a highly- advanced infrastructure of computerized machines that takes an image of the retina and the inside of the child’s body to check how far cancer has spread. In this method of diagnosis, a medication, in the form of a chemical dye is used to inject into the blood veins to get a clear picture of the cancer growth.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI is a very common test used for the diagnosis of cancer that uses a high-intensity magnetic field, to get clear pictures of the brain, eye, and spinal cord. This test can also tell whether retinoblastoma cancer has affected the eyesight of the child.
CT scan of the brain
This is another test that takes photographs of the brain and the nervous system that joins the brain and the eyes. This test is quite necessary to detect the growth of retinoblastoma cancer in a child’s body.
Blood tests are quite crucial for the diagnosis of retinoblastoma cancer. A blood test helps to know the blood profile of the cancer-affected child and measures the count of red blood cells or RBC, white blood cells or WBC, and platelets that are quite necessary before beginning the surgery or chemotherapy.
Treatment Of Retinoblastoma Cancer
Surgery is the most commonly used and the most- recommended procedure to treat retinoblastoma cancer among children. Through surgery, the oncological surgeon destroys the cancer cells and removes the affected- cells in the retina of the affected eyes.
The most common way of treating cancer is the use of chemotherapy. This method is very commonly prescribed by physicians and oncologists sometimes it is done after the surgery. In this method, the doctors use chemicals, drugs, and surgical medications to destroy the cancer cells and those areas that have been affected by retinoblastoma cancer. Chemotherapy occupies an important part of pediatric oncology that helps to completely reduce the growth of tumors and cancer cells in the retina of the child’s eyes through some procedures such as:
- Radioactive plaque therapy
- Thermotherapy or photocoagulation (laser therapy)
In radiation therapy, a beam of high-intensity light rays is applied to cancer-affected areas within the retina to destroy the cancerous cells inside the eyeballs and to provide a more clear vision by removing the affected cells.
This method is usually prescribed and used by oncologists and health care experts to treat retinoblastoma cancer to destroy the targeted cancer cells in the retina through the application of medical drugs.
Side Effects of The Treatment of Retinoblastoma Cancer
The procedures that are recommended by oncologists and health care experts to treat retinoblastoma cancer might lead to the occurrence of several types of side effects in children after the treatment is done. Some of the side effects are as follows:
- Feeling of drowsiness.
- Excessive tiredness and exhaustion.
- Difficulties in normal growth and development.
- The feeling of nausea, which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.
- Mild to severe headache, that commonly occurs after having radiation therapy.
If you feel that your child is having any of the above side effects, then it is highly advisable to take the help of the concerned health care expert at once.
A child with retinoblastoma cancer can surely recover after treatment if the disease is detected and treated early.
It is quite difficult to prevent retinoblastoma cancer because the disease occurs through abnormality in genetic mutation.
The concerned physician is the best person to advise how to protect your child’s eyes from retinoblastoma cancer.
Regular check- ups and strictly following the instructions of the physicians are the things to be done after the treatment of retinoblastoma cancer.
The time taken to cure this type of cancer entirely depends on the treatment procedures recommended for the patient and of course, on the severity of the patient.