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Retinoblastoma – Symptoms, Treatment

Retinoblastoma is a malignant tumor that develops in the retina (nervous tunic of the eyeball) that occur in young children, usually between 1 and 4 years. Most often is hereditary, now knowing exactly what is pathological gene responsible for developing this disease.

Symptoms of retinoblastoma. From clinical point of view, the tumor develops in several phases.

The first phase is detected occasionally in the fundus examination. At this stage there can be seen small tumors. The  tumor is increasing and appears as a spot of irregular shape, with polycyclic contour, prominent, yellowish white. Tumor develops in the posterior pole or in another part of the retina. Tumor development may be endofitis (by eye) or exofitis-subretinal (leaving from external layers of the retina).

The second phase is the ocular hypertension, the tumor invades the eyeball gradually creating a secondary glaucoma. The eye becomes red and painful. Through the pupil can be seen the appearance of a yellow tumor mass that protrudes into the vitreous (gelatinous substance, transparent, stiffness, viscosity and elasticity variable, which fills the space between the lens and retina). Usually in this stage the child is brought to the doctor and diagnosed.

Exteriorization phase is the propagation of tumor outside the eye by scleral perforation (makes up most of the outer covering of the eye) and cornea (front part of the external tunic of the eyeball). Tumor invades the orbit and may appear in the palpebral fissure as a painful purple, friable, bleeding mass. Tumor invades optic nerve, along which enters the skull.

Generalization phase (metastasis), is the appearance of metastases in the brain and meninges, cervical lymph nodes, mediastinum, liver, skeletal system.

For diagnosis and staging of the disease will be made the following investigations:

– Ophthalmoscopic examination;

– Radiography of skull;

– Ultrasound;

– Computer tomography;

– MRI (magnetic resonance);

– Fluorescein angiography;

– Chest x-ray and ultrasound for diagnosis of possible liver metastases.

Treatment consists of chemotherapy in several series, eye removal, radiotherapy. If the disease will be found in the state of orbital invasion will be performed the complete removal of the entire eyeball and orbital tissues associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The prognosis of the disease is very serious .

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