Retinoblastoma is a cancer that occurs in the area behind the light-sensitive eye (the retina). This cancer has another name that is eye cancer, the disease can affect people of any age but generally affects children aged less than 5 years. Based on American Cancer Society study, the number of children who were diagnosed with eye cancer reached 200 hundred people each year. Cancer can affect one or both eyes of the patient by means of eye bags and spread to the brain (via the optic nerve).
This cancer occurs due to genetic mutations that make retinoblas (cells that form the retina) continues to reproduce until tumors grow on the retina. This cancer can grow into all parts of the eye to spread to other body parts, such as the brain and spinal cord.
The cause of eye cancer is the absence of genes that are lower tumor. In general, eye cancer gene derived based on descent.
2. Symptoms and complications of Retinoblastoma
Common symptoms that occur in the form of retinoblastoma is leukokoria. Leukoria is the presence of white color on the eye pupil when exposed to the light. In addition, it can also occur crossed eyes, swelling of the eyes, and red eyes. This is a dangerous condition that requires you to see your doctor to check the condition of the eyes of your child's eyes.
You have to be really careful, because the disease can cause blindness and other types of cancer incidence in children who've suffered from retinoblastoma. Cancer may recur in healthy eyes or other body parts. People with retinoblastoma will be advised to do regular eye health checks, before and after treatment to minimize the recurrence of retinoblastoma.
3. Early Detection Retinoblastoma
Most retinoblastoma detected since the early stages can be cured. But unfortunately a lot of retinoblastoma cases are detected at an advanced stage. Therefore, to avoid this we need to have adequate knowledge to recognize the signs of eye cancer.
There are a variety of tests that need to be performed prior to an eye specialist can provide retinoblastoma diagnosis to the patient. The doctor will use a special ophthalmoscope to see clearly, whether there is a tumor in the retina of the eye of the patient. To obtain more accurate results, an eye exam can be done with anesthetic drugs.
In addition, doctors can also recommend imaging tests to find out how many cancer cells that have spread and whether the cancer has spread to other body parts. Such tests include ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. Your doctor may refer to a specialist cancer, genetic counselor, or the surgeon during the treatment process runs.
If you have a history of retinoblastoma, ask your doctor about when your child should begin to undergo regular eye examinations. However, children with retinoblastoma will more often have regular checkups and can last up to 5 years.
Stages for this cancer can be distinguished by size, rate of spread, and location of the cancer. This stage will affect the type of treatment procedures are applied. Retinoblastoma is diagnosed at an early stage will have a level of greater treatment success.
The stages of retinoblastoma deployment starting from when the cancer cells are found in one or both eyes and has not spread to tissues outside the eye, or intraocular retinoblastoma called the stage. The next condition is when the cancer has spread beyond the eye or other parts of the body. This condition means that the cancer has entered the stage of extraocular retinoblastoma. Recurrent retinoblastoma occurs after treatment ended and Retinoblastoma happen again in the eyes of the patient or spread to other body parts.
4. Retinoblastoma Treatment
The doctor will look at the extent of the severity of the patient. Next will be determined whether the blindness is avoidable or the need for removal of the eye will be replaced with an artificial eye.
One way to treat Retinoblastoma is the use of laser therapy (laser photocoagulation). Therapeutic laser light can be used to destroy blood vessels that nourish the tumor and cause the death of cancer cells.
Other treatment options are with cryotherapy or cold therapy. This therapy uses very cold liquid nitrogen to freeze the cancer cells before it is removed. This freezing process and removal can be done several times during the maintenance procedure. This process is carried out until the cancer cells to die. In addition, there is a heat therapy which is the opposite of cold therapy. Termoterapi using ultrasonic waves, microwaves, or lasers to direct heat and kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy (radiotherapy) may also include means used to kill cancer cells Retinoblastoma. If chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells, then radiation therapy uses X-ray radiation to do so. Internal radiation or brachytherapy using tools that are placed near the tumor to reduce the risk exposure of healthy tissue to radiation. For patients with severe retinoblastoma, external radiation therapy can be done to provide greater exposure to radiation. Compared to internal therapy, the therapy helped risk damaging healthy tissue.
Eye removal surgery is done when the tumor size was too large and / or tumor could not be treated with other treatments. Surgical removal of the eye consists of several stages beginning with the removal of the infected eye cancer called enucleation. After that, an artificial ball (implant) is installed and connected with the eye muscles. The muscle tissue will adapt to the eye tissue healing process as a child, so will the eyes of the implant can move like natural eye although he can not see. The new artificial eye will be installed a few weeks after the operation and put together implants eyes behind the eyelids. In addition to impacting the child's vision, this surgical procedure also has the side effect of bleeding and infection.
Children who are diagnosed with retinoblastoma must be addressed before the stage of cancer is difficult to treat and cause vision loss. Post-treatment tests and examinations should be undertaken with diligence, especially for children with genetic mutations derivative.
The following description of the type of treatment for patients with retinoblastoma :
Treatment with chemotherapy method uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Almost the same with other types of chemotherapy, chemotherapy for retinoblastoma is also done by providing chemotherapy pill to be consumed by the patient. In addition to direct consumption, the drug is also made in other forms that can be inserted through a blood vessel.
Chemotherapy will help shrink the tumor. This is the first step of treatment which at later stages the patient will be assisted by radiation therapy, cryotherapy, thermotherapy or laser therapy to eradicate the remnants of cancer cells that remain. With chemotherapy, the possibility of surgery will shrink.
b. Radiation Therapy
Used in this therapy is an X-ray X-rays are useful for damaging the cancer cells so the cells become stunted my growth. There are two types of radiation therapy used is internal radiation and external radiation.
c. Freezing therapy (Cryotherapy)
This therapy is done by using a small needle and a very cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen. Cryotherapy can kill cancer cells. Cryotherapy is done in several sessions. When therapy, substance will be applied precisely to the cancer cells or the area near the cancer cells.
Surgery is commonly performed surgical resection. Abnormal tissue to be destroyed as well as decide the blood vessels to the tumor by using a high temperature.
Mechanical treatment of Immunotherapy is the treatment by increasing and regulation of immune function.
5 Prevention of retinoblastoma
While most cases of retinoblastoma not yet have a definite precautions, routine eye examinations that begins at birth can detect retinoblastoma faster. Typically, regular visits to the pediatrician in the early years of a child being born, already includes an eye examination. The doctor will check for signs of degenerative disease including signs of tumors in the eye. Routine eye examinations for adults to do at least once a year to monitor the eye health and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
In addition, the following are other preventive measures that can be done:
- Keep your eyes every time
- Early detection of symptoms appear. If retinoblastoma handled earlier, the eyes can be maintained as well as the possibility of higher recovery.
- Keep your child's diet. Do not expose your child from foods that contain a lot of chemicals
- Avoid eye contact with any child at risk of substance or material, such as soap and shampoo with harmful ingredients.
- Do not expose your child from a wide variety of harmful radiation, such as X-ray radiation, the radiation computers and mobile phones.
- Keep your child at any time. Simple things that can be done is, like diligent hand washing, before eating and before doing other activities. Dirty hands will be an opportunity for germs to make eye irritation.
- Set soft lens wear. The use of soft lens in a long period of time will cause irritation to the eyes and make the eyes difficulty breathing.
- Use sunglasses while driving and while moving around outdoors. Dust and air pollution will cause irritation and even lead to cancer of the eye if the dust has accumulated in your eyes.
- Make eye examination to the eye doctor regularly.