Retinoblastoma (Eye Cancer)

Cloe, Imra, & Jeb

What is it?

Retinoblastoma is a type of cancer that starts the back of the eye in a part called the retina.

Jeb

Signs

Retinoblastoma can be noticed by noticing a white glow in someone's eye. The white glow is called 'leukocoria". It will mostly show up in photographs and low light level. If a white glow is noticed, you should get it checked out immediately.

Jeb

How It Spreads

If not treated, retinoblstoma can take over the entire eye. It can even spread outside the eye and form more tumors. One type of tumor that can form in the eye is called introcular medulloeptheliomas. It is not a type of retinoblastoma but it is very similar. It causes vision loss and eye pain and spreads from the eye throughout the body.

Jeb

History

Retinoblastoma was first documented in 1597. Back then, it was was an automatic death sentence if a child were to get this type of cancer. It was like this until 1869 when the first survivors of the cancer were started to be documented. Doctors in 1920 started to get an understanding of the cancer and named it retinoblastoma. In 1960, doctors had finally agreed that the cancer was caused by an overproduction of immature retinal cells. To this day, it is still very mysterious and doctors are trying to learn more information about it everyday.

Jeb

How much can it cost?

    • Treatments could usually cost around 9,422 USD per patient during the first year. Out of this amount, chemotherapy-related expenses were around 2,991 USD, transportation and accommodation expenses were around 2,560 USD, general anesthetic procedure was around 1,081 USD, and enucleation was about 900 USD.
~Cloe

What options are available?

  • Surgery

    • Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation. Surgery to remove the eye is called enucleation. Children with a tumor in one eye only can often be cured with this treatment. For children with a tumor in both eyes, enucleation is used only if the ocular oncologist (a doctor who specializes in eye cancer) determines that preserving vision using other treatment is not possible("Retinoblastoma - Childhood - Treatment Options").

  • Radiation Therapy

    • Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells("Retinoblastoma - Childhood - Treatment Options").

  • Cryosurgery

    • Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cells("Retinoblastoma - Childhood - Treatment Options").

  • Laser Therapy

    • Laser therapy uses heat in the form of a laser to shrink a smaller tumor. It may be used alone or in addition to cryotherapy or radiation therapy("Retinoblastoma - Childhood - Treatment Options").

  • Chemotherapy

    • Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide and may be used to shrink an eye tumor. Chemotherapy is given by a pediatric oncologist or a medical oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medication("Retinoblastoma - Childhood - Treatment Options").

  • Stem cell rescue/transplantation

    • For the children with Stage IV extraocular retinoblastoma, a stem cell transplant may be recommended; the child is first treated with high doses of chemotherapy to destroy as many cancer cells as possible, then the transplantation takes place. A stem cell transplant is a medical procedure in which healthy, highly specialized cells, called hematopoietic stem cells, are given to a patient, either to replace bone marrow that contains cancer or to help the patient’s bone marrow recover after other cancer treatment ("Retinoblastoma - Childhood - Treatment Options").
~Cloe

Survival Rate

9/10 children with Retinoblastoma are cured ("Retinoblastoma").

~Cloe

Limitations to Life After

Everyone who has retinoblastoma usually lives a peaceful life afterwords.

~Cloe

Population Affected by Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma typically affects babies who are still growing in the fetus, as well as newborns, toddlers, and children who are up to five years old. Retinoblastoma is more common in younger children than in younger children. Retinoblastoma occurs in different races and ethnicities, and happens equally between boys and girls. About 200 to 300 children are diagnosed with Retinoblastoma each year in the United States. It usually occurs in either the left or right eye, but every 1 out of 4 children diagnosed has Retinoblastoma in both eyes.

~Cloe

Retinoblastoma Team

We are the brains behind this project.
Imra, Cloe, and Jeb.

Charities To Donate To

American Childhood Cancer Organization

American Childhood Cancer Organization is a great charity organization that is helping children all over America by informing people about retinoblastoma and keeping open donations for their charity. http://www.acco.org/about-childhood-cancer/diagnosis/types-of-childhood-cancer/retinoblastoma/

Imra

Children's Cancer Research Fund

“Children’s Cancer Research Fund invests in lifesaving, leading-edge research in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of childhood cancers and blood-related disorders.”

http://www.childrenscancer.org/

Imra

Though An Angel's Eyes

  • “Our goal is to create a community of Angel’s that will look after those little angel’s affected by retinoblastoma.”

http://www.anangelseyes.org/

Imra

Why You Should Care

Of course there are many more cancers that affect the entire world. Retinoblastoma may not even affect you, but the children and families that are affected by this rare disease need your help. Children should not suffer from cancer and let it take over the lives they have just began. Or think of it this way: what would you do if your child was diagnosed with eye cancer? Don't forget about the people who have this horrible thought as a reality. What you can do right now is donate and raise awareness.

Imra

Genetic Link

The gene that is mutated in this cancer is called RB1. RB1 is a tumor suppressor meaning that it maintains the cell growth, making sure that the cells don't divide too quickly (Retinoblastoma). The chromosome that is affected is chromosome 13 (Chromosome 13). When the RB1 gene is mutated, it allows the cell to grow abnormally and increases the chances of getting diagnosed with Retinoblastoma (Retinoblastoma).

Imra

In memory of Uva

Yolanda San Martin, or Uva, the great grandmother of one of our team members, Cloe, had suffered from this cancer but only found out about it while she was dying.

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