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Dhaka Tribune

Eye cancer in infants: Early diagnosis of retinoblastomamay save vision, life

A cancer of early childhood, retinoblastoma can affect developing fetuses, as well as newborns, babies, toddlers, and children up to five years

Update : 06 Oct 2018, 09:03 PM

Among the children in Bangladesh,between the age group of one month to four years,suffering from cancer, 83 % account to retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumour that grows in the retina. 

Chittagong Eye Infirmary and Training Complex (CEITC) treat around 40 infants suffering from retinoblastoma every year.

The information was revealed at a day-long seminar held at the CEITC on Saturday.

According to physicians, early detection of retinoblastoma is extremely important or the disease can be fatal. In Bangladesh, most of the patients’approach a doctor when the disease reaches an advance stage;that is when the tumor extends externally. When retinoblastoma spreads beyond the eye, a child usually has very poor eyesight. 

Treatment of retinoblastoma requires a series of diagnosis including ophthalmology, radiotherapy, oncology, anesthesiology and oculary.

Managing trustee of CEITC Prof Dr Rabiul Hossain said the disease if detected at an early stage both vision and life of a patient can be saved.  

He stressed the need for screening the disease,as infants under three are mostly prone to it. Screening of patient’s siblings is also necessary.

Renowned ophthalmologists, pediatricians, oncologists of the country and representatives from different NGOs and donor agencies attended the seminar.

Prof Dr Showkat Ara Shakur, Prof Dr AKM Rezaul Karim, Dr Ali Asgar, Dr Mortuza Nuruddin and Dr Soma Rani Roy spoke on the occasion.

What is retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is a cancerous tumor that grows in the retina, a layer of nerve tissue in the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain.

A cancer of early childhood, retinoblastoma can affect developing fetuses, as well as newborns, babies, toddlers, and children up to five years.

A cloudy white pupil, which might look silvery white or yellow in bright light, is often the first sign of retinoblastoma. This is called leukocoria, or "cat's eye reflex." Other symptoms include poorly aligned or "wandering" eye, reddish pupil, often with pain, larger-than-normal pupil, different-colored irises, poor vision or decreased vision.As the baby grows, cells called retinoblastsmultiply and form a tumor. 

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