World Retinoblastoma Week
Retinoblastoma is a fast growing eye cancer affecting babies and young children. Early diagnosis is vital to save children’s life and sight, but very young children cannot tell parents their sight is changing, and the signs of vision loss in very young children can be subtle.
A white glow in a child’s eye, seen in flash photos or dim light, is the most common early sign of this cancer. 90% of children are diagnosed because a parent sees this sign, but the time delay between first seeing the sign and seeking medical help is often several months or more.
96% of children are cured today in the developed world, but many lose one or both eyes or suffer significant vision loss due to late diagnosis.
Curative treatment often has lifelong physical and psychosocial impacts on young children.
90% of children with eye cancer live in less economically developed countries, and most are diagnosed too late to save their lives.
Global survival is below 20%.
About 50% of survivors have an increased life-long risk of certain other cancers, and many struggle to receive appropriate ongoing medical care.
In 2007, we held a joint event with the UK Childhood Eye Cancer Trust to promote global awareness of white pupil, the most common early sign of retinoblastoma. The week was a great success and has now become an annual campaign, running for seven days from the second Sunday in May.
In many developing countries, health information is shared with the public before or after Sunday church services. This is why we chose to include Sunday at the start of week, to make the most of awareness raising opportunities in those countries.
Activities throughout the week target:
• The general public
• The imaging industry.
• Primary health care workers and those who work with children and survivors
World Retinoblastoma Week is an exciting opportunity for all who care for and about children with eye cancer to join forces in raising awareness of this potentially lethal and blinding, but highly curable cancer. Together, we will prevent needless suffering!
Be part of our annual life and sight-saving campaign!
By getting involved, you bring hope of earlier diagnosis and better care for children and their families and adult survivors worldwide. With a united voice around the world, our message is so much stronger. Please support our campaigns in your workplace, school, place of worship or community group to help us reach and educate as many people as possible.
This year’s campaign highlights the importance of taking regular flash photographs of children without Red Eye Reduction settings, to check for white reflex. We invite you to Go Red and White to Shine the Light on retinoblastoma this May, and help us share this life and sight saving knowledge.
Please support the global fight to bring effective care to all children with cancer. Here are five simple ideas:
- Display an awareness message on your website and social media during World Rb Week, with a brief explanation of white eye reflex and the importance of checking children’s eyes for normal red reflex. Post a link to this website and encourage your friends to get involved.
- Put up an awareness poster in your community, workplace or school to raise awareness. The Fundraiser Pack includes a printable awareness poster.
- Contact your local media to share your experience of childhood cancer. Our Fundraiser Pack includes a template letter and media release you can personalize.
- Host a Daisy Bake to raise awareness in your community and raise funds that will bring life-saving care to children with eye cancer in the world’s poorest countries. We prarticularly encourage supporters to hold a Daisy Bake on or close to May 14.
- Organize a Red and White Day at your school or workplace to promote awareness and raise funds. Charge a nominal fee to people who want to dress down, or invite people to dress up and charge an entry fee to a “best dressed” contest. Award a prize to the winner.
Please join us in sharing this simple message: a white glow in a child’s eye could be a sign of cancer – early diagnosis saves lives and sight.