Saturday, 22 August 2009
Retinoblastoma: Early detection of eye cancers will save the sight
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Early detection of eye cancers particularly retinoblastoma will save the sight.
According to specialist doctors at LV Prasad Eye Institute, retinoblastoma in children is curable if timely treatment is provided to the patient. The hospital has released a set of do's and don'ts for parents as part of the world retinoblastoma awareness week which will conclude on May 19.
Retinoblastoma is a cancer in a child’s eyes and accounts for about 11 per cent of all cancers in children below one year of age and five per cent of childhood blindness.
"More than 1000 children are diagnosed every year in India with the problem. About 75 per cent of children have a tumour in one eye and
25 per cent have a tumour in both eyes. The early symptoms include a white reflex of eye, squinting eyes and vision loss," says Dr Santosh Honavar, chief ocular oncologist.
He regretted at poor and low levels of awareness among people. "The white reflex in the child’s eye is retinoblastoma. Such a child needs immediate medical attention. By taking the child to an eye specialist, you can help save the child’s life and eyesight," he points out.
Retinoblastoma is a genetic disorder and may be caused by abnormal genes inherited from one or both parents or a mutation of a particular gene after the child is born. This cancer is curable if detected early.
"There are doctors and facilities available in India to provide appropriate treatment that will cure the child of this eye disease. However, it is often the case that parents are not aware of the warning symptoms of retinoblastoma or they may choose to ignore the early symptoms of a white glint in the eye or squinting eyes. Instead, the parents may take the child to the doctor at a later stage when the cancer has advanced, the tumour weighing down the child's face to one side," he said.
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