Understanding Treatment Options For Retinoblastomas

When you have a child who is having vision problems and swelling or discomfort in their eyes, the last thing you may expect to hear is that your child has a form of eye cancer known as retinoblastoma. However, if this has happened to you and your child, it is important to recognize that there are treatment options available to help your child overcome this rare form of cancer. Get to know more about the ways in which you can treat your child's retinoblastoma. The sooner you start treatments, the better your child will feel and the closer they will hopefully be to overcoming their retinoblastoma diagnosis.


One of the primary means of treatment for retinoblastoma is chemotherapy. This treatment uses drugs that are administered intravenously at a doctor's office or hospital. Once the chemo drugs are in the bloodstream, they will attack the cancer cells in your child's retinoblastoma as well as any cancer cells that may have spread to other areas of the body.

Chemotherapy is usually a means to an end when it comes to treating retinoblastoma. In other words, it may be used to deal with cancer that has spread or to shrink the retinoblastoma, but rarely is it the only treatment used.

Radiation Therapy

If chemotherapy is first used to shrink your child's retinoblastoma, then the next step is likely going to be to try to eradicate it completely using radiation therapy. Sometimes, of course, chemotherapy is skipped and radiation therapy is the first step in the process.

Radiation therapy is a targeted treatment in which concentrated energy, like x-ray energy, is administered to the tumor to heat and break down the cells causing the tumor cells to be destroyed and stop growing or replicating. Under most circumstances, radiation therapy is administered from an external source of that radiation energy. Your child will go to their doctor's office for treatment. The radiation is directed at the retinoblastoma from what is essentially a laser making the treatment painless for your child.


Sometimes, even with chemotherapy and radiation, the retinoblastoma cannot be destroyed. In these cases, your child may need surgery to eradicate their cancer. Retina surgeons or other eye surgeons can perform a procedure known as enucleation.

Enucleation is the surgical removal of the affected eye as well as the retinoblastoma. During the same procedure, the eye surgeon will place an artificial eye implant in the eye's place. This eye implant occupies the same place as your child's eye and helps to maintain proper facial and eye structure. However, the new eye implant cannot see for your child.

Generally, because most of the time a person will only experience retinoblastoma in one eye, the remaining eye will adjust so that their vision will not be too greatly limited or damaged due to the surgical removal of their affected eye.

Now that you know more about some of the treatment options for your child's retinoblastoma, you can be better prepared to handle the situation and provide your child with the care and support they need as they go through treatments.

For more information on eye surgery, visit http://www.drgrantmdretinalspecialist.com.