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Retinoblastoma in children is a rare cancer, occurring in about one in 20,000. It originates in a part of the eye called the retina, a thin layer of nerve tissuethat coats the back of the eye, allowing a person to see. Retinoblasts (immature cells of the retina) multiply during gestation and early life to make enough cells to create the retina. As children age, the cells mature and are no longer able to divide and multiply, a process called differentiation.
Most children with the genetic form do not have a parent with retinoblastoma, rather, the change in the gene occurred in either the egg or the sperm of one parent prior to conception. Even if the child has the genetic form, if neither parent has the tumor, the chance that retinoblastoma will occur in another child in the family is less than 1%. However, the risk of tumor in the offspring of a child with the genetic form of retinoblastoma is about 50%. Having the genetic form of the disease also increases a child’s risk of developing other cancers later in life.
Newly Diagnosed with RetinoblastomaIn Treatment for RetinoblastomaAfter Treatment for Retinoblastoma