India has the highest number of Retinoblastoma (Rb) affected children in the world, with about 1500 new cases reported each year informed Dr. Santosh G. Honavar, while addressing a press conference here in city on the occasion of World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week.
Retinoblastoma is the most common and life-threatening eye cancer in very young children, new born to 3 years of age, generally resulting in removal of the eye. Each year, more than 5000 new cases of retinoblastoma are diagnosed in the World, of which a third (over 1500) are diagnosed in India. Awareness on Retinoblastoma is low and it can be completely curable with life, eye and vision salvage, if detected early. With improved techniques and technologies, survival of children with Retinoblastoma has improved but low awareness is still a cause of concern. If the child is examined early by a child specialist or an eye doctor and referred to an eye cancer specialist for treatment, then the cancer can be controlled and the child’s life, eye and vision can be saved.
Dr. Santosh G Honavar, Ocular Oncologist has been working for the cause of retinoblastoma for over 15 years and have together treated over 2000 children with retinoblastoma with 95% life salvage, 90% eye salvage, and 85% vision salvage. Dr. Santosh said, “Our time-tested, evidence-based and experience-driven treatment protocols at Centre For Sight for early and advanced intraocular retinoblastoma, orbital retinoblastoma and adjuvant therapy are personalized to each child to optimize the outcome.”, informed Dr. Santosh.
Eye cancer specialist treats retinoblastoma by chemotherapy, laser and brachytherapy (an advanced form of local radiotherapy), focusing on saving the child’s life, salvaging the eye, and protecting the vision. Treatment ensures 95% of the children are saved from death, over 90% have their eye intact, and over 85% have their vision protected. To save the child’s life and prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, the eye may have to be removed in advanced cases. It is possible then, to fit a life-like artificial eye on the child to ensure normal appearance.
During the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week May 11-17, efforts are dedicated to generating public awareness about retinoblastoma, the most common and life-threatening eye cancer in very young children, new born to 3 years of age. To provide special care and attention for Retinoblastoma patients, Centre for Sight (CFS) Super Speciality Eye Hospital, Hyderabad has a dedicated team comprising of an ocular oncologist, pediatric oncologist, ophthalmic oncopathologist, expert chemotherapy nurse, and an ocularist, announced Dr. Santosh G. Honavar, Director – Medical Services and Head – Ocular Oncology & Oculoplasty, CFS Hyderabad. The National Retinoblastoma Foundation at the Centre for Sight, Hyderabad is a fully equipped referral centre for cost-effective and comprehensive management of retinoblastoma. The Centre plans to have special programs to promote the awareness on Retinoblastoma during the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week to be observed from May11-17, 2014.
Some of the symptoms of Retinoblastoma that can be observed are:
- A white shiny reflex in the child’s eye is a tell-tale symptom.
- Crossed eyes or ‘squint’, swelling of the eye, and continuous watering are other symptoms.
- The vision is lost rapidly and the child might frequently bump into objects and get hurt.
Take the child to an eye specialist if:
- If there is a white glow in the child’s eye
- If the child’s eyes are misaligned, also called squint or crossed eyes
- If the eye is red and swollen because of an unknown reason
- A simple eye examination can help detect retinoblastoma and save your child’s life.
Take a flash photograph of your child:
- If there is a white shining spot inside the eye, it could be retinoblastoma
- Rush the child to an eye specialist or an eye cancer expert
Article: World Retinoblastoma Awareness
Author: Nalini Ravichandran | Mail Today | May 17, 2014 | UPDATED 12:22 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.