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Retinoblastoma in Children

  • 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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