Retinoblastomas are a form of Eye Cancer that is found exclusively in
In order to understand Retinoblastoma, we must first discuss what it actually is. A brief overview of eye functions and anatomy reveals that the retina is the part of the eye that takes in light from the world around us, transforming this light into electrical impulses that that brain can decode through a process called transduction. Therefore, Retinoblastomas can be thought of as cancer of the retina.
When a baby is growing in the womb, the eyes are one of the first things to develop. In these very early stages the eyes have cells called Retinoblasts that grow very quickly. When they stop growing, they develop into mature retinal cells that can detect and process light. However, in very rare cases the immature Retinoblasts continue to grow very fast and do not turn into mature retinal cells. Instead they grow out of control and develop into cancerous tumors known as Retinoblastomas
It is of the utmost importance to find this cancer during the pre-natal stage of growth in order to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body after birth. Symptoms of the cancer can sometimes become very agressive, involving the constant dilation of the pupils, blood vessel rupture, and complete loss of eyesight. These symptoms typically occur in one eye, but since , it could occur in both eyes as a result of genetic mutation.
Before we can properly dicuss Intraocular Melanomas and the impact that they have on people, it's important to first understand exactly what Melanoma is. In short,
Intraocular Melanoma is by far the most common form of Eye Cancer, accounting for over 90% of all Eye Cancers. One of the most important factors in ensuring that Intraocular Melanomas do not become life threatening is achieving early detection and treatment. This is because Eye Cancers have a tendancy to spread to other parts of the body, something which makes the disease much more difficult to treat effectively.
The symptoms of Intraocular Melanomas if left unchecked. They include: blurred vision, dark spots on the iris, a change in the shape of the pupil, and even a permanent change in position of the eye in the eye socket.
Like Intraocular Melanomas, Intraocular Lymphomas involve a broader type of cancer:
Intraocular Melanomas, while still dangerous, only account for around 7% of all Eye Cancer cases in the world - a very small number when compared to Intraocular Melanoma. The diagnosis of Intraocular Lymphoma is typically made by removing cells from the eye and evaluating it from there. Once the diagnosis is certain, a specialized doctor is dispached to perform an evaluation on how the patient should proceed.
Thankfully, the symptoms of Intraocular Lymphoma are often quite distinguishable, something which makes early detection more likely. Noticing and alerting a doctor of these symptoms is an essentail step in terms of ensuring a high chance of survival. These symptoms share much in common with the other 2 primary types of Eye Cancer, and can include things like blurred vision and an altered pupil shape. Some of the more unique symptoms are Lymphoma-specific, such as swelling of the face as a reaction to the mass growth of lypmph nodes.
The very first thing that is done when someone is diagnosed with Eye Cancer is the development of a medical team that is specifically suited for that particular individual's cancer. These doctors include people who specialize in treating diseases of the eye (called
Once a medical team is established, these doctors begin working together to develop a treatment plan that is responsive to the needs of the patient. Depending on the stage of the cancer and other factors, treatment options for Eye Cancer can include: . It is not uncommon for more than one type of treatment to be used.
In order to determine what treatment plan is best for the patient in question, doctors consider a wide range of factors. These include things such as the location and stage of the cancer, the patient's general health, the chances of curing the disease, and the possible impact of the treatment on vision.
Radiation therapy makes use of high energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. It is a common treatment for many forms of Eye Cancer, but is used most commonly to treat Intraocular Melanoma. While radiation can often preserve some vision in the eye, this sometimes may be lost anyway if the radiation damages vital structures near the infected point. One advantage over surgery that this treatment holds is the preservation of the eye structure, something which may result in a better appearance after treatment.
One of the most exciting developments in Eye Cancer research in recent years has been the refinement of . This treatment focuses proton beams on the cancer. Protons are the positive parts of ataoms. Unlike x-rays, which release energy both before and after they hit their target, protons cause little damage to tissue as they pass through and then release their energy after traveling a certain distance.
While current applications of this technology are limited, the hope is that this treatment will allow more radiation to be delivered to the tumor while doing less damage to healthy tissue. This would mark a huge advancement over previous forms of treatment due to a more perfect balance of effectiveness and comfort.
Although its application has been limited in recent years in favor of radiation therapy, surgery is sometimes used to treat certain forms of Eye cancers. The
Recent advancements have made it possible to replace the eyeball with orbital implants. The implant is usually made out of silicone or a substance similar to bone. It is attached to the muscles that previously were responsible for moving the eye, something that it will move in a similar manner as the eye would have.
A few weeks after the surgery, the patient is then sent to visit an to be fitted with an artificial eye. This artificial eye is a thin shell that fits over the orbital implant and underneath the eyelids. The artificial eye typically matches the size and color of the remaining eye, thus making it difficult to tell apart from a real eye. Advancements such as these allow patients to live more normal lives after surgery, and ensure that the lingering damage of the cancer is minimized.
All contributions made to the foundation are spent in adherence to one fundamental goal: providing meaningful support to those who are actively involved in the research of Eye Cancers. Your generous donations are a necessity to ensure that they continue to make steps towards this goal.
The foundation was created with the valuable assistance of patients and their loved ones who were grateful for the support of research in the field of Eye Cancer. They are a legally-operating nonprofit organization, something which ensures that all funds donated to them will be allocated in a manner that is both responsible and consistent with the needs of those who suffer from Eye Cancer.
Established in 1989 as The Eyecare Foundation,
They have historically been responsible for providing a foundation upon which rapidly developing technological and informational capabilities can best serve patients and their families. They aspire to motivate patients and aspire them to triumph over their disease through the means of easing mental and emotional burdens placed on them. You can click the button below to be directed to their website to make a simple donation that will undoubtedly move the fight against cancer one step ahead.
In order to succeed in the fight for life and sight we must join together and connect. Through social media, the sharing of stories, and advancements in research we have the opportunity to beat Eye Cancers.