Cancer is an ugly disease, but the beauty of life after cancer is worth fighting for
Have you ever tried walking around a room with your eyes closed? I am sure within a fraction of seconds after closing your eyes you will bump somewhere or the other. Now just visualise how difficult it must be for people who cannot see. While we are all blessed with eyes some of us may lose our vision against some illnesses. One such condition which leads to eye loss is Retinoblastoma.
Retinoblastoma is a type of cancer which affects the eye. It is mainly caused by an inheritable alteration of the RB1 gene. This particular cancer is found in the children. It is believed that 80% of cases are seen before 3 years of age. This is also labelled as good cancer as 90 per cent of children reach adulthood. However, the disease comes with its terms like huge chemo and radio sessions, loss of childhood and a possibility of being deprived of vision in one or both eyes.
The retinoblastoma scenario in India is not too good. In India alone, 20% of cases are diagnosed in the world. Out of these some lead a normal life and live as adults while the rest are either disabled or die.
In India due to an unawareness of the disease, the diagnosis is done much later when the condition reaches a much more devastating phase. Even if the diagnosis is done early some people cannot afford the treatment. A combination of the trifecta – lack of access, means and knowledge – further, make this disease poisonous and in case of cancer fatal!
Cause of Retinoblastoma:
This is a genetic disease and is mainly caused by the mutation or alteration in the genetic code. The genetic mutations are present in sets of three – substitutions, insertions and deletions. This is important but how they affect the human body is what matters. Our genetic codes usually don’t undergo change and this is based on extensive research and trials. Most of the times these mutations don’t cause any harm but sometimes may cause harm.
In the case of retinoblastoma, when a child inherits the mutation change from the parent then he may be born with the condition. In some cases, the gene mutation can also happen in the early years affecting one eye only.
Symptoms of Retinoblastoma:
Retinoblastoma can be identified on a regular visit to the doctor. Some of the symptoms are:
- Crossed eye
- Poor vision
- Red and painful eye
- Big pupils
- The pupil may look black or white instead of red when seen in the light
Treatment of Retinoblastoma:
When a child with retinoblastoma is treated, experts take care to work hand in hand. After all its vision we are talking about. A careful plan is made on the basis of the involvement of the eye and its spread. The aim of the treatment is to:
- Remove the cancer
- Save the eye
- Help restore the child’s vision
Other treatment options which help to kill the cancer cells are radiation and chemotherapy. In case a child’s eye is removed it is replaced with a prosthetic eye. It is very normal for a child to feel nauseatic after the many sessions of chemo. A regular checkup of the eye ensures that the treatment is working. Once the child’s treatment is over and they are cancer free they can lead a normal life with their day to day activities.
Learning that a child has cancer can be really upsetting and the whole journey can be stressful. But once the fight is over the journey called life becomes more worthwhile.
Theme Reveal, A – Autism, B – Bronchiolitis, C – Celiac Disease, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis, K – Kawasaki Disease, L – Leukaemia, M – Meningitis, N – Neuroblast, O – Omphalitis, P – Pica, Q – Q Fever