Children’s health is always the topmost priority for parents. We ensure that our children are getting the best facilities and treatments available out there, but there are some matters that we often miss out on, such as their eye health. Eye cancer is a rare condition, but it can affect children too. Childhood eye cancer is an unfamiliar term for many parents, but those who have been through it know how tough it is to handle the situation.
There are several types of eye cancer in children, but Retinoblastoma is the most common one. It can develop in one or both eyes and can cause blindness if not treated on time. The condition often goes unnoticed as children under the age of five cannot describe their visual changes or symptoms, but it is essential to keep a close eye on their eye health and any unusual sign that they display.
Symptoms of Childhood Eye Cancer
If you notice any of the following signs, it is crucial to have your child’s eyes checked with an eye specialist:
- Whitish appearance in the pupil
- Squinting or crossed eyes
- Redness, swelling or pain in the eye
- Change in the colour of the iris
- Poor vision or loss of vision
Treatment for Childhood Eye Cancer
Retinoblastoma can be treated effectively if diagnosed in its early stages. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. In some cases, a combination of treatments is applied, and the treatment plan varies based on the location and stage, as well as the overall health of the child.
Chemotherapy is a medication-based treatment for cancer. The drugs can be injected into the vein or given orally. The aim of the medication is to kill the cancer cells by entering the bloodstream and reaching the affected area of the eyes. Chemotherapy is often used as an initial treatment option, and the dosage and duration can vary based on the response of the child to the treatment.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill the cancer cells. The radiation can be applied externally through a machine or internally in the form of a seed or a plaque. Radiation treatment can affect healthy cells as well so the dosage, and duration of the treatment plan will vary based on the child’s age and overall health.
Surgery is often required to remove the affected part of the eye or to remove the entire eye in severe cases. The surgery may be followed by the addition of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, depending on the location and the stage of cancer.
Prevention of Childhood Eye Cancer
While there is no definitive way to prevent retinoblastoma, regular eye check-ups can help diagnose it early. Parents should also be aware of their child’s eye health and any unusual changes in their eyes, such as white pupils or changes in vision. Early detection can help save a child’s vision and life.
In conclusion, childhood eye cancer is a tough and rare condition that requires early diagnosis and prompt treatment. It is essential to keep a close eye on your child’s eye health and if you notice any signs, visit an eye specialist immediately. The treatment plan varies based on the location and stage of the disease, and it is crucial to follow the doctor’s advice to ensure a speedy recovery.
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