What is Retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is a rare eye cancer. It occurs inside the retina and only occurs in childhood. It can be in one eye or both eyes. One in three of children with retinoblastoma have the disease in both eyes. In addition, tumors can be seen in a single point (unifocal) or in many parts of the eye (multifocal).

There are two types of the disease, hereditary and non-hereditary. The presence of retinoblastoma in both eyes is one of the signs that the disease is inherited.

Retinoblastoma tumors usually grow quickly. It occurs in the eyeball or eye cavity but can be transported to blood vessels or lymphatic vessels via the central nervous system.

If the disease is not treated, it leads to death.


Causes of Retinoblastoma Cancer

Retinoblastoma occurs when the precursor cells of the retina, called retinoblasts, undergo genetic change (mutation). These changes may occur later or be inherited.

In 40% of errors, retinoblastoma is hereditary. At the same time, 15% of all patients have a family history of retinoblastoma.

Gene changes in chromosome 13 are effective both in non-hereditary retinoblastoma and in hereditary retinoblastoma. For a tumor to occur, both chromosome pairs must have a gene change.


Symptoms of Retinoblastoma Cancer

Small-sized retinoblastoma tumors are usually undetected and don’t cause symptoms. For this reason, it can be diagnosed late. However, if the tumor grows, the eye organ can be seriously damaged and diseases such as visual impairment and blindness occur.

The most common symptom in children with retinoblastoma is that their eyes are white, not red or black, in photographs. This white glow indicates a tumor in the eye.

In some patients, retinoblastoma is not clearly discernible on the retina, but causes swelling and pain in the eye.


Retinoblastoma symptoms to watch out for in children:

  • A whitish, yellowish color in the pupil.
  • Strabismus and visual impairment
  • Eye swelling and pain