Retinoblastoma Care

eye exam of adolescent girl

Retinoblastoma Care

Learning that your child has retinoblastoma can be scary. If left untreated, this type of cancer can lead to blindness or loss of the affected eye, and in some cases it can be life-threatening. But with early detection and treatment, this rare cancer can be successfully cured while preserving your child’s sight.

At Columbia, we have the experience and expertise your child needs to treat their retinoblastoma. Our pediatric cancer and eye specialists are leaders in their fields and understand what’s at stake for you and your child.

What Is Retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is a type of cancer that develops in the retina—a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye that receives light and sends signals to the brain. In retinoblastoma, cells in the retina mutate and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass, or tumor. Retinoblastoma in children typically develops before age five and can occur in one or both eyes. It can appear as a white or shiny speck or abnormal growth.

Retinoblastoma can cause blindness or loss of the affected eye; in cases where the tumor is left untreated, it can spread to the brain, leading to death. While retinoblastoma is rare, it is the most common type of eye cancer in children. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of successful outcomes and prevent loss of vision.

Care at Columbia

Our pediatric retinoblastoma care team combines ophthalmology, oncology, surgery, and radiology experts from across Columbia University Irving Medical Center. And as part of NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital—the #1 children's hospital in New York City according to U.S. News & World Report—we combine cutting-edge treatments and technologies with experienced pediatric specialists to deliver the best care possible for your child.

Genetic Testing for Hereditary Retinoblastoma

Hereditary retinoblastoma is caused by a mutation passed down from at least one parent and is associated with an increased risk of developing other cancers. Genetic testing can help determine if your child or other family members has the mutation that causes retinoblastoma. Our genetic counselors can work with you to help you understand the benefits and limitations associated with testing.

Treatment for Even the Most Complex Cases

The complexity of treating retinoblastoma depends largely on what stage the disease has progressed to when it is diagnosed. While early treatment has the greatest chance of success, Columbia has experience treating complex and advanced retinoblastoma in children.

Support for You and Your Family

At Columbia, we know the significant impact cancer can have on your child and the rest of the family. Our programs provide helpful resources and answers to your questions to make sure you have all the help you need throughout your child’s treatment and recovery.

Treatments We Offer

  • Brachytherapy
  • Chemotherapy
    • Intra-arterial chemotherapy
    • Intravitreal chemotherapy
    • Systemic chemotherapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

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