What is retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children. Learn about symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks in our guide to retinoblastoma.

Risk factors for retinoblastoma

Risk factors for retinoblastoma include RB1 gene mutation and family and personal history of retinoblastoma. Learn about retinoblastoma risk.

Finding retinoblastoma early

When retinoblastoma is detected and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better. Recognizing signs and symptoms and getting regular checkups are the best ways to detect retinoblastoma early. The sooner symptoms are reported, the sooner a doctor can diagnose and treat the cancer.

Symptoms of retinoblastoma

Symptoms of retinoblastoma include a white reflection or glare in one or both pupils when exposed to light. Learn about the symptoms of retinoblastoma.

Diagnosis of retinoblastoma

Tests to diagnose retinoblastoma, such as MRI, are done when symptoms are present or a doctor suspects a problem. Learn about diagnosing retinoblastoma.

Grading retinoblastoma

Grading is a way of classifying retinoblastoma cells based on their appearance and behaviour when viewed under a microscope. To find out the grade of a tumour, the biopsy sample is examined under a microscope. A grade is given based on how the cancer cells look and behave compared with normal cells.

Stages of retinoblastoma

Staging is a way of describing or classifying a cancer based on the extent of cancer in the body. If retinoblastoma is found in both eyes, each eye is staged separately. Three staging systems used to classify retinoblastoma: International Classification for Intraocular Retinoblastoma, Reese-Ellsworth staging system and TNM staging system.

If retinoblastoma spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the retina of the eye to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are also called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Prognosis and survival for retinoblastoma

Parents of children with retinoblastoma may have questions about the child’s prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a child’s medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of the cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Treatments for retinoblastoma

Treatments for retinoblastoma include focal treatments, chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

Supportive care

Supportive care is an important part of cancer care. It helps children and their families meet the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of cancer. It helps improve the quality of life of children living with cancer. It can help children to cope with cancer, its treatment and possible side effects.

Retinoblastoma statistics

Cancer statistics tell us how many children aged 0 to 14 in Canada are diagnosed with and die from retinoblastoma in a certain time frame.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

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