Comer Children’s offers complete diagnosis and treatment for retinoblastoma. As one of the busiest pediatric cancer programs in the Midwest, we have the expertise and resources to care for children with any type of retinoblastoma.
The first step in diagnosing retinoblastoma is an ophthalmoscopic eye exam performed by a pediatric ophthalmologist. With the child under general anesthesia, the pupils are dilated so the entire retina can be examined to determine the location, size, and extent of the eye tumor. The exam is followed by a CT scan and/or MRI scan to look for involvement of tissues outside of the eye. The scans also help confirm the diagnosis of retinoblastoma.
When tissue samples are taken, pathologists at the University of Chicago confirm the diagnosis and assist in the process of procuring tumor tissue for genetic testing.
The treatment for retinoblastoma is individualized for each patient depending on factors such as involvement of one or both eyes, the tumor size or location, and the stage of the disease. The primary goal is to treat the tumor and stop the spread of the cancer. The treatment plan is designed to save the eye and vision whenever possible. For each patient, the ophthalmologist, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist design a treatment plan that may include the following:
Cryotherapy (freezing treatment)
Enucleation surgery (removal of the eye)
Some children will be eligible to participate in clinical trials. These treatment protocols are part of a nationwide, National Cancer Institute-sponsored effort to evaluate and monitor newer therapies.
Retinoblastoma patients sometimes need additional support services, including fitting for a prosthesis and low-vision training. Our social workers can help coordinate resources to meet these needs. Children with cancer often have ongoing medical, emotional, social, and developmental needs. Our doctors, nurses, social workers, and child life specialists recognize these issues and can provide your family with the resources and tools to keep you informed, find assistance, and help you cope.