Retinoblastoma

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Treatments for recurrent retinoblastoma

Recurrent retinoblastoma means that the cancer has come back after it has been treated. The following are treatment options for recurrent retinoblastoma. The healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your child’s needs and work with you and your child to develop a treatment plan.

Treatments for recurrent retinoblastoma will depend on whether the retinoblastoma is intraocular or extraocular.

Recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma

Recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma is retinoblastoma that comes back inside the eye. Treatments for recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma depend on the size and location of the tumour and what treatments were used previously.

Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery may be used to treat retinoblastoma that comes back within the eye. Cryosurgery uses extreme cold to freeze and destroy cancer cells.

Thermotherapy

Thermotherapy may be used to treat retinoblastoma that comes back within the eye. Thermotherapy uses microwaves, ultrasound or infrared radiation to deliver heat to and destroy cancer cells.

Laser surgery

Laser surgery may be used to treat retinoblastoma that recurs within the eye. Laser surgery uses a laser (a powerful beam of light) to heat and destroy cancer cells.

Chemotherapy

Your child may be offered chemotherapy for recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma. Chemotherapy may be given before or after other treatments.

Radiation therapy

Your child may be offered radiation therapy for recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma. The 2 types of radiation therapy that may be used are plaque brachytherapy (plaque radiation therapy) and external beam radiation therapy.

Surgery

Your child may be offered surgery to remove the eye (called enucleation) for recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma.

Clinical trials

Many children with recurrent intraocular retinoblastoma will be treated in a clinical trial. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

Recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma

Recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma is retinoblastoma that comes back outside the eye. It is more difficult to treat and may be treated with a combination of the following treatments.

Chemotherapy

Your child may be offered chemotherapy for recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma. Chemotherapy may be given before or after other treatments.

Radiation therapy

Your child may be offered radiation therapy for recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma. The type of radiation therapy used is external beam radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may be given along with chemotherapy.

Stem cell transplant

Your child may be offered high-dose chemotherapy with an autologous stem cell transplant for recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma in the brain or spinal cord (called the central nervous system, or CNS) or other distant sites.

Clinical trials

Many children with recurrent extraocular retinoblastoma will be treated in a clinical trial. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

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