Many children and teenagers experience anxiety with medical interactions after retinoblastoma diagnosis. Pediatric registered nurse and child life intern, Michelle Badejo, describes how hospital anxiety can manifest, and explores how parents can help them cope, be active participants in their ongoing care, and raise their quality of life.
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..
Local in-person support specific to the needs of families and survivors affected by retinoblastoma is much needed but very rare. Lisa Hester, mother of a young Rb survivor, reflects on the second WE C Hope California Family Day, held in August 2019, the seeds of our mission to bring this support to all across America.
A diagnosis of childhood eye cancer impacts families in so many ways, during the immediate crisis of treatment, and years after “cure”. Knowing you are not alone on the journey is the greatest comfort and strength. Five mothers reflect on the healing power of Camp Sunshine, a retreat that cares for the entire family when cancer strikes.
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?
Annie, an important member of our team, retired on April 15th. Abby White, retinoblastoma survivor, WE C Hope founder and volunteer CEO, reflects on working with her guide dog for seven years. She considers the many varied gifts Annie has brought to both herself as an individual retinoblastoma survivor, and to WE C Hope.
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.
Just 3 paediatric oncologists serve Ghana’s population of 29 million, but this dedicated team leads one of the best childhood cancer programs in West Africa. Dr. Vera Essuman (paediatric ophthalmologist) and Prof. Lorna Renner (paediatric oncologist) discuss retinoblastoma in Ghana and the development of care for children with eye cancer across the country.