Before answering the query, ‘what are the different types of Retinoblastoma’, it is very important to first understand what Retinoblastoma is in reality.
Retinoblastoma is a condition or a disease that affects the eye of an individual (a child). In this disease, the eye of the concerned individual is most affected. Over here, the retina of the concerned individual is said to have suffered damage at the cellular level.
The cells located at the rear end of the eye are affected the most when you suffer from Retinoblastoma. The cells that are responsible for sensing light is what are affected the most when you suffer from eye cancer.
The ideal age group of individuals suffering from Retinoblastoma is 1 year and 6 months. Nonetheless, it has been noticed that child eye cancer is most prominent in kids aged 0 years to 4 years of age.
As far as the gender is concerned then, both boys and girls suffer from eye cancer. So, there is no kind of gender biased attached here.
Let me elaborate on the most common types of Retinoblastoma:
Contents of What are the Different Types of Retinoblastoma Article:
1. What is Retinoblastoma?
2. What are the Main Causes behind Eye Cancer in Kids?
3. How to Detect Eye Cancer in its Early Stages?
4. Can Retinoblastoma Lead to Further Complications?
5. What are the Different Types of Retinoblastoma?
6. How can I Prevent Eye Cancer in my Kids?
What is Retinoblastoma?
Also known as eye cancer of kids, Retinoblastoma is a condition wherein the retina of the eye tends to get infected. The retina intercepts light signals with the aid of the optic nerve. Then, it transmits these signals to the human brain. This exchange of information is what helps you view objects both in light and the dark.
If the retina (or the lens of your eye) is unable to receive light signals then, you would not be able to see any object. In the case of Retinoblastoma, the nerve tissues of the retina are damaged. This cellular damage tends to inhibit the retina to function optimally.
Eye cancer affects either one or both the eyes. Children are susceptible to eye cancer. At the same time, adults (aged 50 years and above) too may develop this condition.
When the eyeball as well as the surrounding parts (located within the eye) experience an increase in cellular production then, it leads to to the formation of tumor. This tumor tends to affect your retina. The final result is eye cancer and even blindness. The eye tumor can be both benign as well as malignant.
What are the Main Causes behind Eye Cancer?
As I have mentioned above, it is the explosion of cell production in the eye that leads to the formation of tumors. When these tumors turn malignant, they tend to spread to other parts of the body. This is what is termed as cancer. Genetic mutation of the nerve cells in the retina is what leads to the rampant development of bad cells.
When the total number of bad cells exceeds the good cells, they tend to kill bad cells. This is when tumors formation is encouraged and your eye starts to suffer. Yes, it is also possible that this infection may spread to other parts of the body (provided the tumor formed within the eye is malignant in nature).
Here are the main causes of eye cancer (including) retinoblastoma:
@ The age of the individual is a major factor. Most adults suffering from eye cancer are in between 50 to 60 years of age. It has also been noticed that people over 60 years of age seldom develop eye cancer.
@ Small kids can also get affected by Retinoblastoma. So, young age is also a major concern here.
@ If the color of your eye is blue, brown or green then, your chances of contracting eye cancer are higher than those that have black eyes.
@ Africans are less prone to develop eye cancer as compared to Caucasians. So, your country of origin is also a major concern here.
@ Your family medical history too has a major role to play here. If your father or mother suffered from eye cancer then, it is highly likely that you too would.
@ Another cause for eye cancer is an underlying ailment. For example, if you suffer from dysplastic nervus syndrome then, your chances of contracting eye cancer are high.
@ If you stay in an area wherein UV rays are harsh then, your chances of contracting eye cancer are high.
How to Detect Eye Cancer in its Early Stages?
Eye cancer is very rare indeed. It needs to be noted that tens of thousands of cases are reported worldwide annually. This is just an estimate and the actual figure is unknown. This is owing to the small scale in which this this eye disease has affected people worldwide. So, getting back to the main topic of this sub-heading – how to detect eye cancer in its early stages.
Well, here are a few things that you need to watch out for:
@ To start with, you may have issues seeing objects clearly. This is with regards to objects that are far and near. It could be a hazy vision or a blurry vision. So here, the clarity of your vision is definitely compromised.
@ Another sign is irritation in the eye. It feels as though a hair is stuck in between your eyeball and it just does not go away despite you trying really hard to get it out. The discomfort simply grows and does not fade with time.
@ If on a closer look at your eye, you witness the eyeball to be popping out then, it is yet another sign of Retinoblastoma.
@ In case your eyeball is developing a slight swelling or your eyelid has a stye that refuses to disappear then, it is a sign of eye infection.
@ In case you see small stars appear all of a sudden in front of your eyes or lightning flashes (without the actual lightening happening on the skies) then again, the possibility of Retinoblastoma is on the higher side.
@ Any changes in the natural movement of your eyeball is also an indicator to this disease. Some doctors are of the opinion that changes in the natural placement of the eyeball is also an indicator to the same.
Can Retinoblastoma Lead to Further Complications?
Well, if you have Retinoblastoma then, without a shadow of a doubt, your ability to view objects naturally reduces dramatically. It has also been noticed that your eyesight shall witness a dramatic drop. Your vision shall be blurry and it is quite possible that your shall experience constant irritation in the eye.
This eye cancer is extremely rare and only a few thousands fall prey to this disease annually. Nonetheless, if you somehow manage to get this ailment and you are suffering from conjunctival melanomas then, it is highly likely that your eye cancer can spread to other parts of the body. While conjunctival melanomas is extremely rare, it can affect you adversely.
The most common organs where this cancer can spread includes the lungs and the heart. In certain cases, eye cancer may spread to the brain (in case you are suffering from conjunctival melanomas & NOT Retinoblastoma). Once again, complications vary from person to person. Also, you need to make note of the fact that your current health status and underlying ailments have a major role to play while determining the extent of damage that eye cancer can do to your health.
What are the Different Types of Retinoblastoma?
Retinoblastoma affects almost 300 kids in the United States alone. This is an annual figure of actual diagnosis. There could be many more cases going undetected.
So, it would not be incorrect to state that Retinoblastoma accounts for less than 3% of all cancers that kids suffer from. Did you know that Retinoblastoma is mostly detected in kids that are 2 years of age? In fact, the upper age limit of this cancer is 6 years.
As long as the cancer is limited to one eye then, it is curable in nature. Nonetheless, the moment the cancer spreads outside of the eye then, it is quite possible that it may no longer be easily curable. Whatever the case may be, you need to first understand the different stages of this disease.
I (LeanAndFit review staff) have identified the top 3 types:
In this type of Retinoblastoma, only a single eye is stated to be infected. 6 out of every 10 patients have been diagnosed with unilateral eye cancer. So, it is the most common type of ailment in kids. The tumor is usually single. Some kids do have multifocal tumors in their eye.
This is owing to intraocular seeding that tends to falsely exhibit multiple tumors in a single eye. It is quite possible that the child suffering from unilateral Retinoblastoma has no genetic defect to blame. The child’s father or mother or the grandparents maybe perfectly fine with normal (healthy) eyes.
The second most common type of eye cancer in kids is termed as bilateral cancer. Over here, both the eyes of the child are affected by cancerous cell growth. 4 out of every 10 patients are known to suffer from bilateral eye cancer. Here, both the eyes of the child would have tumors.
Sometimes, the infection is in one eye only. Tumor formation is in one eye. From this eye, the tumor tends to shift to another eye. This is when both the eyes of the child gets infected with tumors. Although not as common as a unilateral type, bilateral Retinoblastoma does tend to infect kids.
This is the third type of eye cancer in kids. In this case, both the eyes of the child are infected with cancer at the same time. Hence, tumors tend to develop in both the eyes simultaneously. The infection does not spread from one eye to the other.
It happens in both eyes at almost the same time. Here, pinealoblastoma tends to get coupled with retinoblastoma thereby doubling the impact.
How can I Prevent Eye Cancer in my Kids?
Well, this type of cancer is so rare that not many tests for screening eye cancer have been developed so far. Nonetheless, you can take precautions and adopt preventive measures in order to avoid Retinoblastoma from spreading or even developing itself in the very first place. Prevention is always better than cure.
So, in order to nip the evil in the bud, here is what all you can do from your end:
@ You (as a parent) should check the overall movement of the child’s eye. If the eyeball is moving in sync with its natural movements, all is well. In case the eyeballs seem a little distorted and following different tracks while moving, you might have to get cautious.
@ Any disruption in the eyeball or the eye socket that is unusual and not normal, is an indicator that your child has eye related issues.
@ In case your child has difficulty viewing objects then again, it is a clear sign that you need to pay a visit to a doctor. When you show your child to a doctor in time, the cancer may not be allowed to develop.
@ If you or your family members have RB1 gene then again, you should have your child’s eyes checked. Gene testing is vital as RB1 is responsible for genetic mutation thereby leading to an increase in cell production in the eyes.
@ In case you have RB1 gene then, your child should be administered an eye test every month from the time the child was born. This needs to be done for a period of 1 year. So, 12 eye tests should be conducted in the first year.
@ If you have suffered from heritable retinoblastomas as a child then, your kid also has a chance of developing the same. Do have your child’s eyes tested on a regular basis in such a scenario.
@ In case you have any doubts regarding your child’s eye health then, opt for magnetic resonance imaging. This test needs to be done on a periodical basis till the child has completed his/her 4 year age mark.
@ The health, hygiene, diet and recreation of your child needs to be looked after by you (as a parent) very carefully. Doing so ensures that your child is following all the best practices that he is required to.
Retinoblastoma is rare but it is not obsolete. Even though only a few thousand individuals get affected by this disease, you cannot ignore its presence. In order to safeguard your precious child, you should first gain more information on this eye disease. When you (as a responsible parent) are careful then, your child can be safe and healthy.
On the other hand, any lapse from your end can result in your child developing health complications. So, always be vigilant and get your kid’s eye checked by a ophthalmologist. This needs to be done till the kid is 5 years of age. Eye cancer in kids is definitely curable and treatable.
Nonetheless, to avoid eye related complications, you should always be vigilant and take good care of your kid’s eye health. Never ignore the above mentioned symptoms in order to detect eye cancer in kids at an early stage. Knowledge on optimal eye care at home is vital to avoid visiting an ophthalmologist every other day.