Many families look to international care for their child’s sight saving or life saving miracle.
In both developed and developing countries, retinoblastoma treatment locally may not meet a child’s needs, or may not be what parents desire, especially if eye removal is advised.
A mind-boggling array of therapies offer hope of saving sight.
You may be exploring one or more of these options if your child has just been diagnosed with eye cancer, or if previous treatment has failed.
Perhaps you live in a country where eye removal surgery is the only option and yet your child’s eyes might be saved. Or perhaps you are hoping you can find a doctor who will say your child’s life might be saved without removing the eye.
Perhaps you have been told you must travel overseas to save your child’s sight. Or maybe simple life-saving eye removal surgery is unavailable in your country, and treatment in another country is the only hope of saving your child’s life.
Seeking international care is complex and expensive. Family life may be ravaged by the experience, and sadly too often the outcome is not what parents hoped for because of poor planning and lack of communication.
Many families delay treatment while looking for alternatives to recommended eye removal surgery. Most have scarce personal resources to fund treatment in another country. Often, curable children die because essential surgery is delayed.
Follow up care is often compromised by limited funds, poor forward planning and inconsistent communication between the doctors. Globally, children who receive treatment overseas or at multiple hospitals often have a poorer long-term outcome than might be achieved in their home country or at just one centre.
You are obviously in a very difficult position if you are looking at international treatment options. We hope this section will help you ask and answer some of the most important questions as you identify the treatment that is best for the complete wellbeing of your child and entire family.
Ensure your child receives appropriate care, and that international doctors are willing and able to collaborate with doctors in your home country for good follow up.
You do not have the luxury of time in raising funds, especially if doctors have recommended the eye be removed. Delaying care may risk your child’s life.
When considering international care for your child, you must also think about how you will get there, where you will stay, daily living needs, how much this will cost and how you will finance it.
Important questions must be put to the doctors and those helping you gain visas, travel and housing. You must also answer your own difficult questions to ensure your child’s life and your entire family is protected.