Parents Can Alert Doctors To Infant Retinoblastoma

By Elda Hauschildt

Family members are often the first to recognize retinoblastoma symptoms in very young children but often do not report symptoms to doctors, thus contributing to delays in treatment.

Researchers say retinoblastoma is not a common problem among children in the United States, with an incidence of one in 14,000 to 34,000. "However, its prompt diagnosis can influence treatment and the prognosis of saving the eye," they add. "A brief question added to the primary care physician's history at the newborn and two-, four- and six-month visits may educate the parents to alert the physician of eye abnormalities such as leukocoria and strabismus."

Investigators from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre and New York Presbyterian Hospital, both in New York City, point out that small retinoblastomas "may produce only perceptible leukocoria when the pupil is dilated, such as in a dark room when a family member goes to check on the child.

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