Facts About Retinoblastoma #A2ZChallenge

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.

Did you know: India sees 1,500 new cases of pediatric retinoblastoma every year Click To Tweet

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.

Source: American Optometric Association

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
Source: Medindia.net

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.

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Shubhra Rastogi Written by:

Well, about me I can say that I am a certified dentist, healthcare analyst, medical writer and above all a mother of a 6-year-old. Most of my day to day activities revolve around her and she is my inspiration to start this blog. As a mother, I experimented with a lot of new things for my little one in a quest to find the best for her. I just want to share my experiences of being a happy and content mum.

26 Comments

  1. April 20, 2019
    Reply

    I remember reading about this but didn’t know the details. After reading your post learned more about this. I will remember.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 20, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Sanjota

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 20, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Vidhya

  2. April 20, 2019
    Reply

    This seems to be a really devastating disease. You have covered it exhaustively. Thanks for sharing.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 20, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting by!

  3. April 20, 2019
    Reply

    There are so many disease affecting all different organs. But diseases that come as a result of genetics are so unfortunate. A kid may not have any control as the gene is transferred from parents or grand parents. In India eye used to be treated secondarily. Other than checking eye power, we almost never go to a doctor for a systematic and regular checkup. I think eyes should be checked for different diseases that have potential to take away eye sight.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 20, 2019
      Reply

      Agree the eyes are still taken very lightly. If people go for regular checkups then a lot of eye problems can be controlled. Thanks for visiting by!

  4. April 20, 2019
    Reply

    This broke my heart. How painful can life be if one has cancer in the eyes and loses vision because of it. Very informative and helpful post

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 20, 2019
      Reply

      Yes, indeed it can be devastating for a person. Having said that the life after cancer is also beautiful as one knows that they have beaten the deadly C.

  5. April 20, 2019
    Reply

    Informative post Shubhra…M getting aware of a lot of new things from your posts… though unfortunate but as they identifying the disease in time is important so one should definitely be aware of all these facts and symptoms

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 21, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Kushal

  6. April 20, 2019
    Reply

    What a helpful and informative blog post! I think the one thing that scares me the most is blindness, but it’s even more heartbreaking when it’s a child.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 21, 2019
      Reply

      I know it can be so heartbreaking for a child.

  7. April 20, 2019
    Reply

    Losing your ability to see can be very difficult to accept and for children it must be all the more confusing and challenging. I have recently started wearing spectacles and this inability to see the fine print scares me, so I am imagining the plight of patients who lose vision. 🙁

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 21, 2019
      Reply

      Seriously it must be frustrating for them. Thanks for visiting by.

  8. April 21, 2019
    Reply

    I really didn’t know much about this before. Great post for raising awareness of a devastating but not very well-known condition.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 21, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Karen

  9. April 21, 2019
    Reply

    Such useful and concise information my dear which all of us must know about. My husband’s brother has lost 70% of his vision due a rare eye ailment and we really understand the pain and frustration he faces. Awareness is the key and you are doing a great job by doing it

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 21, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Roma. I know the loss of vision can be frustrated.

  10. Noor Anand Chawla
    April 21, 2019
    Reply

    I’m learning so much through your series Shubhra! I had no clue about this disease despite it being so rampant in India.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 21, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Noor!

  11. April 23, 2019
    Reply

    Such an exhaustive post, You have covered everything about this disease. I invite you to read my R & S post too which I posted quite late.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 23, 2019
      Reply

      Sure Vartika I shall surely visit your R&S posts.

  12. April 24, 2019
    Reply

    These terms reminded me of my school text book. But your post has more details. Thanks for sharing

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 24, 2019
      Reply

      Yes, I do agree that the terms are straight out from the book and remind us of school. Thanks for reading.

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