Retinoblastoma Treatment in Alpharetta, GA
The retina is a light-sensitive, thin layer of tissue at the back portion of your eye. Light is focused onto the retina through the pupil, cornea and lens. The retina converts light into neural signals that travel along the optic nerve to the brain where they are processed as the images we see.
Retinoblastoma is a tumorous cancer that grows in one or both of your retinas. While a rare cancer, primarily affecting children under the age of 5, retinoblastoma is the most common form of eye cancer in children, with 200-300 children diagnosed each year in the United States.
If left untreated, cancer can spread to other parts of the eye, leading to glaucoma and vision loss. The earlier retinoblastoma is diagnosed, the better your chances are for survival and maintaining your vision. Luckily, retinoblastoma is typically diagnosed before getting to the point of spreading beyond your eye(s) and becoming fatal.
Schedule an appointment to evaluate the health of your child’s eyes today. Call (770) 674-6311 or contact Dr. Gail Ravello online.
Retinoblastoma occurs when retina cells develop genetic mutations, and as these mutations cause unhealthy cells to accumulate, a tumor forms. In some cases, retinoblastoma is present at birth. In this case, it is caused by a gene mutation during the early stages of fetal development when the eye is forming. Children who have this version of retinoblastoma do not necessarily contract it from a parent or other relative who had it, though heredity could increase a child’s risk. In this case, it is usually present in both eyes and discovered in infancy.
Another version of retinoblastoma causes a child to only contract retinoblastoma in one eye, which generally occurs as the result of a gene mutation that develops on its own after birth. In this particular instance, retinoblastoma develops later in childhood rather than the child being born with it.
Since retinoblastoma affects infants and small children, often symptoms are hard to detect. Some of the symptoms of retinoblastoma can include:
- A whitish circle within the pupil of your eye
- One pupil that is larger than the other
- One iris (eye color) is a different color than the other
- Abnormal eye movements
- Eyes that seemed to be crossed
- Eye redness and / or swelling
- Eyes that seem to bulge forward
If you notice changes to your child’s eyesight, it is important to schedule an appointment with your child’s healthcare provider. While basic eye exams are part of your child’s regular checkups, any changes to their eyesight are always important to thoroughly investigate.
Your healthcare provider may recommend the following tests to check for eye tumors:
- Eye exam
- CT scan
In some cases, your child may need sedation in order to get a comprehensive look at the eyes and to keep your child still. Your healthcare provider may also choose to refer you to an oncologist or other medical specialist who can assist with diagnosis and treatment.
Your healthcare provider will discuss the best options with you for treatment. Often treatment includes one or more of the following:
- External Beam Radiation Therapy, which most typically involves both eyes
- Plaque Radiation Therapy, which is more localized
- Laser Therapy, which involves destroying the blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tumor
- Cryotherapy (cold treatments), which typically involves using liquid nitrogen to treat cancer cells
- Thermotherapy (heat treatments), which involves using ultrasound, microwaves or lasers to kill cancer cells
- Surgery, which is typically a last resort when your healthcare provider determines that all other methods would be ineffective. This can include removal of the affected eye.
The treatment your child’s healthcare provider recommends will depend on multiple factors such as tumor size and location, whether or not it has spread, your child's overall health and the preferences you may have. Your healthcare provider will work with you to preserve your child's eyes and vision whenever possible.
Request more information about retinoblastoma treatment today. Call (770) 674-6311 or contact Dr. Gail Ravello online.
Natural Medical Solutions Wellness Center
Address1130 Upper Hembree Rd.
Roswell, GA 30076
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wed: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm