Conditions + Treatments

Retinoblastoma in Children

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Few things are as scary as learning that your child has a tumor in his eye, but treatment has improved dramatically in recent years, and so have your child’s chances for a successful recovery. Retinoblastoma—a tumor in the retina (nerve tissue that covers the inside of the back of the eye)—is now cured more than 90% of the time.

  • Retinoblastoma usually occurs in children younger than 5.
  • The tumor(s) may be present in one or both eyes, and rarely spread to other parts of the body.
  • Retinoblastoma may be inherited or the result of a spontaneous gene mutation.
  • Treatments include radiation, cryotherapy, thermotherapy, chemotherapy and enucleation (surgery to remove the eye, only performed as a last result when the health of the child would be in serious jeopardy otherwise).                                       

How Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Children’s Hospital Boston approaches retinoblastoma

The Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is an integrated pediatric oncology program that provides all the services of both a leading cancer center and a pediatric hospital. This team approach ensures that your child's treatment plan is carefully developed and coordinated. We integrate expertise from the following specialists:

  • pediatric oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists
  • pediatric experts from every medical subspecialty, such as ophthalmology and radiology
  • highly skilled and experienced pediatric oncology nurses
  • psycho-oncologists, resource and education specialists, financial coordinators, Child Life specialists, pharmacists and many others to help manage children¹s physical, emotional and everyday needs
  • unique programs like Home Visits, an outreach program that helps families adjust to life after diagnosis

Reviewed by Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD
© Boston Children’s Hospital; 2011

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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