A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the course and outcome of a disease for a particular patient. When a doctor considers a patient's retinoblastoma prognosis, he or she carefully weighs all the factors that could affect the cancer and its accompanying treatment, and then tries to predict what might happen. Some of the most important factors affecting a retinoblastoma prognosis are the stage the disease is in, the size and number of tumors, and whether vision can be saved.
Families facing retinoblastoma are naturally concerned about what the future holds. Understanding retinoblastoma and what to expect can help patients and their loved ones:
- Plan retinoblastoma treatment
- Think about lifestyle changes
- Make decisions about quality of life and finances.
People with retinoblastoma may want to know their retinoblastoma prognosis. They may ask their doctor or search for retinoblastoma statistics on their own.
A prognosis gives an idea of the likely course and outcome of a disease -- that is, the chance that a patient will recover or have a recurrence (return of the cancer). Many factors affect a person's prognosis.
Some of the most important factors for a cancer prognosis in general are:
- The type and location of the cancer
- The stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread)
- Its grade (how abnormal the cancer cells look and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread).
Other factors that may also affect the cancer prognosis include the person's age, general health, and response to treatment.
When doctors consider a person's prognosis, they carefully look at all the factors that could affect that person's disease and treatment, and then try to predict what might happen. The doctor bases the retinoblastoma prognosis on information researchers have collected over many years about hundreds, or even thousands, of people with cancer. When possible, the doctor uses statistics based on groups of people whose situations are most similar to that of an individual patient.
The doctor may speak of a favorable retinoblastoma prognosis if the cancer is likely to respond well to treatment. The retinoblastoma prognosis may be unfavorable if the cancer is likely to be difficult to control. It is important to keep in mind, however, that a prognosis is only a prediction. The doctor cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.