Retinoblastoma (cont.)

What Are the Stages of Retinoblastoma?

Stages of retinoblastoma include:

  • Intraocular retinoblastoma. The earliest stage of retinoblastoma, found in one or both eyes. It has not yet spread to tissue outside of the eye.
  • Extraocular retinoblastoma. This type of cancer has either spread outside of the eye or to other parts of the body.
  • Recurrent retinoblastoma. The cancer has come back or spread in the eye or to other parts of the body after being treated.

    How Is Retinoblastoma Treated?

    Because it is usually found before it spreads outside of the sclera (white of the eye), retinoblastoma is highly curable. There are also many types of treatment that can save sight in the eye affected by retinoblastoma. Treatments are selected based on the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. Options include:

    • Photocoagulation. A laser is used to kill blood vessels that feed the tumor.
    • Cryotherapy. Extremely low temperatures are used to kill cancer cells.
    • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a treatment given intravenously (injected into the vein), orally, or is injected into the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called intrathecal chemotherapy. These powerful doses of cancer-killing medication help kill or slow the growth of multiplying cancerous cells.
    • Radiation therapy. Radiation may be given externally or internally. External-beam radiation therapy uses X-rays to kill cancer cells. Internal, or local radiation therapy, involves placing small amounts of radioactive material inside of or near the tumor to kill cancer cells.
    • Enucleation. Surgery to remove the eye.

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