A child who has hereditary retinoblastoma is at risk for developing pineal tumors in the brain. This is called trilateral retinoblastoma. Regular follow-up exams to check for this rare condition are important during treatment and for at least four years after the child is diagnosed. Hereditary retinoblastoma also increases the child's risk of developing other types of cancer in later years.
Symptoms can include the following:
- The pupil of the eye appears white instead of red when light shines into it. This may be seen in flash photographs of the child.
- Eyes appear to be looking in different directions (crossed eyes).
- Pain or redness in the eye.
These possible symptoms are not sure signs of retinoblastoma. Other, less serious, health problems can also cause these symptoms. Anyone with these possible symptoms of retinoblastoma should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
(Click Symptoms of Retinoblastoma for more information.)
If a person has possible symptoms of this condition, the healthcare provider may do a physical exam and ask about the patient's personal and family medical history. In order to help make a diagnosis, the healthcare provider will also recommend additional tests and procedures that examine the eye.
The exams and tests involved in diagnosing retinoblastoma may include the following:
- Eye exam with dilated pupil
- CT (computed tomography) scan
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
A retinoblastoma diagnosis is usually made without a biopsy (removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer).
(Click Diagnosing Retinoblastoma for a closer look at this topic.)