Retinoblastoma is highly curable, but lifelong impacts are significant for survivors, siblings, parents and extended family. After a particularly painful personal insight, Rb survivor and WE C Hope CEO Abby White asked families and survivors about their own experiences of life beyond childhood eye cancer care.
Individuals who carry an RB1 mutation have a 50% chance of passing the retinoblastoma cancer syndrome on to each child. Melissa Mills, bilateral retinoblastoma survivor and genetic counsellor, explores the psychological and physical impacts of this experience, and the different routes to creating a family when a prospective parent has an RB1 mutation..
Living with the daily effects of childhood eye cancer can be overwhelming, for all family members. Both the immediate crisis of diagnosis and treatment, and the long-term impacts and risks. Child Life Intern and Student Teacher, Meagan Fuller, highlights some simple mindfulness techniques parents and children can use to ease daily tension.
Retinoblastoma is staged to help doctors describe the extent of cancer in a child’s body, define potential for cure, vision and eye salvage, identify the best treatments, and compare impact of different therapies. Dr. Ashwin Mallipatna explains the TNM Staging System for Retinoblastoma and why it is the best approach for patient care.
Many retinoblastoma survivors live with significant long term treatment impacts and second cancer risks. Yet most children, adult survivors and their families struggle to access appropriate ongoing care. Len Burns, a totally blind bilateral Rb survivor and licensed family therapist, highlights the most common survivor concerns, and potential ways to improve long term care and quality of life.
Strabismus (turned eye) and leukocoria (white pupil), the most common signs of retinoblastoma, can also occur in healthy eyes. Sandra Staffieri, Retinoblastoma Care Co-ordinator at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, examines both and answers the key question – when should parents and doctors be concerned?
Familial retinoblastoma affects more than one member of the same family. Diagnosing children early provides the best opportunities for life and sight-saving care. Alison Skalet, ocular oncologist and director of the Rb service at Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, explores opportunities for early diagnosis when a parent, sibling or other relative has already been diagnosed.
Survivor participation in retinoblastoma research is key to understanding long-term impacts of the cancer, and improving care. But many barriers to participation exist Len Burns, a blind bilateral Rb survivor and licensed family therapist, considers four major barriers, and opportunities to overcome them.
The WE C Hope blog has been busy in 2018. We’ve shared 24 posts from 17 authors – parents, survivors, researchers or professionals providing retinoblastoma-related care. Each has brought valuable experience, knowledge and perspective, and we are very thankful to them all. Here is a recap of posts we’ve shared in the past 12 months.
Parents and survivors have valuable lived experience that can shape retinoblastoma research to improve health outcomes. Kaitlyn Flegg reviews progress of the innovative Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board, where parent and survivor priorities are setting the research agenda.