What Is Retinoblastoma and Who Gets It?

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Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the eye, and specifically a cancer of the retina in very young children. It is a rare cancer. The United States is estimated that there are about 275 cases a year, so it's somewhere between the fourth and the seventh most common cancer of childhood in the United States.

On the other hand these children are very young. It represents about a third of all the children diagnosed with cancer in the first month of age, and I have diagnosed and treated children with cancer before their due date but after they were born, that is, they were premature so it can develop very, very early in children.

Worldwide there are somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 cases a year in the world, and the instance appears to be the exact same, in every country and every ethnic group, in every economic group. It is a mutation that occurs in the cells, it's the first cancer that the genetics would figure it out in 1986 despite the fact that it's a very rare cancer.