Monday, 1 October 2012

WOTD: Retinoblastoma

A young child with retinoblastoma in the left eye. Photograph: Gordon K. Klintworth

"Retinoblastoma" - A cancer of the retina that affects infants. The first indications of this disorder may be a squint caused by blindness in the affected eye or a visible whiteness in the pupil. Without early treatment, retinoblastoma can spread to the orbit (eye socket) and along the optic nerve to the brain.

Retinoblastoma has a genetic basis. People with this cancer lack part of one of the chromosomes in pair number 13. Newborn infants from affected families should have genetic counselling.

Treatment is by removing the eye, or by radiotherapy. If both eyes are involved, the one worse affected by removed and the other given radiotherapy.

"retinoblastoma". British Medical Association (2007). Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 2nd ed. London: Dorling Kindersley (DK). p489.

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