Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in children. A complex cancer requiring specialist care, it has potentially lifelong impacts on the child and their entire family. Research focused on early diagnosis and referral, all aspects of medical and psychosocial care, and survivorship can improve the cancer experience, outcomes, and quality of life.
The #RbResearch Alphabet of Hope highlights key questions and realities for all who research this unique cancer or fund the research, who care for affected individuals, and advocate for best patient, survivor, and family care.
We hope you enjoy this video showcasing the complete Alphabet and all the images shared throughout the year. A full text version can be found directly below the video, including links to further resources relating to the subject.
Access To Care is unequal globally, with poorer outcomes for children in low-resource settings. What are the main barriers to care, and how can optimal access to care be delivered, including in rural and remote communities?
Access to Care is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Rb Survivor and WE C Hope CEO, Abby White explores the challenges families experience in seeking international care, and what can be done to help improve outcomes for their children.
Bedside to Bench to Bedside: evidence-based retinoblastoma care begins with real-world patient, survivor and family needs (bedside) that stimulate meaningful research (bench) and rigorous studies to improve care (bedside).
Rb Survivor and WE C Hope CEO, Abby White explores different types of medical research; their goals, benefits, and limitations; and opportunities to overcome the current challenges in retinoblastoma.
Care Pathway: Retinoblastoma care is complex and individualized. How can we best provide treatment and follow up care pathway tools that support family understanding of the care plan, reduce stress, and improve outcomes?
Care Pathway is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Dr. Ashwin Mallipatna explains the TNM Staging System for Retinoblastoma and why it is the best approach for patient care.
Decisions. Parents and professionals face tough choices in retinoblastoma care. How do they navigate complex shared decision-making, and how can we all reduce risk of cognitive bias to ensure the child’s optimal care?
Rb survivor and WE C Hope USA Director, Clayonia Colbert-Dorsey discusses the growing field of ethnography research, and how it can positively impact our diverse global community.
Early Diagnosis leads to better outcomes with less intense treatment. How can we best raise parent, public and medical community awareness of common first signs (leukocoria, “white eye reflex”; and strabismus, “turned eye”)?
Early Diagnosis is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Sessions at every One Rb World explore how we can best raise parent, public and medical community awareness of common first signs, and develop effective screening for early detection. Watch the sessions from our 2017, 2020, and 2021 meetings.
Orthoptist and Rb care coordinator, Sandra Staffieri, and leukocoria awareness advocate, Megan Webber, are frustrated by repeated stories or diagnosis delays and their negative patient impacts. They explore why these delays continue, some efforts to overcome the challenges, and where they find hope for the future.
Follow Up Care is vital to detect new/relapsed retinoblastoma early, identify side effects, and address lifelong impacts and risks. How do we ensure all patients and survivors have prompt diagnosis and best care?
Follow Up Care is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Child Life Specialist Morgan Livingstone reviews what follow up care may involve, and tips to help families and adult survivors navigate this stage of medical care.
Genetic Knowledge Is key to quality care of children with retinoblastoma and blood relatives, during treatment and beyond. What do parents, survivors and professionals know and understand, and how can we improve genetic care?
Meet Alice, Jamie, Megan, Rachel, Peter and their families, and find out how genetic knowledge can influence treatment, screening and lifelong care.
Holistic Care. Retinoblastoma is a major stressor. Needs vary between Individuals, diagnosis and treatment type. How do we provide culturally competent social, emotional and psychological support to all patients and families?
Psychological Support is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Child life specialist Morgan Livingstone shares 10 simple ways all medical professionals can ease stress and anxiety, support healthy coping, and help children and families thrive throughout simple interactions and complex cancer care.
Inclusion in retinoblastoma research is key to understanding long-term impacts and improving care. Researchers who work with our community can overcome the many barriers that hinder participation and real-world findings.
Len Burns, a blind bilateral Rb survivor and licensed family therapist, considers four major barriers to research participation, and opportunities to overcome them.
Journal Access is a global challenge. Too much data remains behind a paywall. How do retinoblastoma professionals and patient families access, understand and use publications to inform care and consent? How can this improve?
Dr. Jesse Berry shares her recommendations for being a safely informed parent advocate in the modern hyper-connected age.
This two part blog gives simple guidance that can help you effectively read and assess medical information, medical news stories and published research articles.
Knowledge Transfer. Three-way exchange of clinical and lived experience, and scientific progress is vital to understand and meet patient needs and develop research partnerships that improve patient and survivor care.
We highlight two key meetings on the horizon that will unite professionals, scientists, and parents and survivors who live with the impacts of childhood eye cancer, to advance care for all.
Since 2017, we have livestreamed an recorded One Rb World sessions, and made them available for post-conference viewing. On our YouTube channel, they are grouped into playlists by conference year and also subject area. You can view all playlists at our Sessions Hub.
Lifelong: Heritable retinoblastoma survivors have increased lifelong risk of second cancers. What are the risk factors? What do survivors need to know to live well and minimize risk? How do we best share the knowledge?
Lifelong Care is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Marissa Gonzalez, Rb survivor and President of World Eye Cancer Hope USA, shares seven tips for being an active participant in your retinoblastoma survivorship journey
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.
Multicentre: About 8000 children develop retinoblastoma worldwide each year. The strongest care-guiding evidence is produced when treatment centres collaborate. How can we improve research cooperation and reduce competition?
Multicentre Collaboration is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
In part 1/2, Rb survivor and WE C Hope CEO, Abby White, explores the many ways multicentre research collaboration can overcome the challenges Rb research faces, to change patient care and outcomes – for the child, survivor, family and professional.
Part 2 explores common challenges to multicentre collaborations, with solutions for each, and how our childhood cancer community encourages healthy, successful collaborations.
Neonatal: Babies born to parents with pathogenic RB1 gene have 50% retinoblastoma risk. What cancer screening, delivery plans, newborn care, and infant mental health supports are best for these babies?
Melissa Mills, bilateral retinoblastoma survivor and genetic counsellor, explores the psychological and physical impacts of the Heritable Rb experience, and the different routes to creating a family when a prospective parent has an RB1 mutation..
Dr. 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 with retinoblastoma.
Morgan Livingstone CCLS discusses how the external environment influences infant mental health, and the varied ways parents and medical professionals can help babies cope and thrive through medical interventions.
Ophthalmology: retinoblastoma and its treatment impact the eye and vision, directly or years later. Vital lifelong eye care for all survivors is often inconsistent. How do we improve knowledge and ocular health care?
Sandra Staffieri, orthoptist and Rb Care Co-ordinator at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, reviews how different retinoblastoma therapies can impact the eye and vision, and how parents can support their child with changing vision.
PTSD affects many children with retinoblastoma, survivors, and their families. What are the causes and impacts on physical and mental health? How can we reduce risk and provide effective mental health care throughout life?
Jules Verdugo, child life & pediatric psychosocial care student, looks at the difference between normal stress reactions and PTSD, symptoms, how to get help, resources, some strategies for managing symptoms, and post traumatic growth.
Questions relevant to patient care and outcomes must guide retinoblastoma research. Collaboration between clinicians, researchers, parents, patients and survivors can shape effective study focus and design.
When a child has Rb, asking questions empowers parents to gain knowledge and make informed Decisions. Ask many questions when making decisions about your child’s care. These question lists covering different aspects of care can help.
On Rare Diseases Day 2016, we highlighted ten important subjects rarely discussed in Rb care that profoundly impact patients and families. 7.5 years on, they all remain relatively unaddressed. But patient advocates with a collective voice and researchers who embrace patient-led research are finally helping to change this.
Relationships: Childhood eye cancer can strain bonds between parents, siblings, parent and child, and extended family. What factors affect relationship resilience and breakdown, and how can we best support at-risk families?
Linda Conyard MGestT delves into the factors affecting relationships in a family affected by Rb, and the best ways to support families. She also explores attachment theory, and how it can help us understand family dynamics when a child has a risk for, or diagnosis of, childhood eye cancer.
Second Cancer: Effective screening for second cancers in people with a heritable pathogenic RB1 gene will improve early diagnosis and treatment. What is optimal screening throughout life?
Second Cancer Screening is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Sessions at every One Rb World explore the risks and challenges survivors and families encounter beyond childhood eye cancer, and how we can improve comprehensive survivorship care throughout life. We share sessions from the 2017, 2020, and 2021 meetings.
Rb survivor Abby White explores the second cancer risk, ho it affects, the challenge of establishing personal risk, provision of lifelong follow up care, and early detection of second cancers. With contributions from fellow survivors.
Treatments: We need high quality, prospective retinoblastoma studies with long-term follow-up to better understand current and new therapies, and their impact on tumor, vision, quality of life, patient safety, and outcomes.
Advancing Treatment is a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Unbiased. The best cancer outcomes are led by objective research. With high competition between retinoblastoma centres, how can we ensure impartial studies that empower good treatment choices and fully informed consent?
The human mind can subtly influence scientific research, with potentially serious consequences for patient care and outcomes. This blog post explores the nuanced world of cognitive and unconscious biases in retinoblastoma research, and strategies that can minimize their impact to ensure objective research and the best care possible for all.
Do you know the difference between lazy eye and squint or an ocular oncologist and a paediatric oncologist? Do you know when remission becomes cure or when extraocular Rb becomes metastatic, and why trilateral Rb is neither of these? We explore 18 sets of commonly confused terms, and why understanding them and using them correctly is important for effective patient care.
Retinoblastoma comes with unfamiliar medical terminology. WE C Hope’s glossaries help parents understand the language, supporting the best conversations with doctors, and more informed consent.
Vision Loss. Enucleation stigma may prevent timely lifesaving surgery. Psychosocial and visual development research can uncover perceived and real impacts of eye and sight loss on quality of life, and support optimal care.
Enucleation and vision loss impacts are a top 10 research priority of the Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB).
Vision loss is a major part of the retinoblastoma experience, but rarely discussed in depth within our community. Sassy Outwater-Wright explores the trauma of vision loss, the experience of living with reduced or no sight, and pathways to living well at every age and stage of sight-loss.
WE C Hope USA President and founding board member, Marissa D. Gonzalez, recounts her journey with vision loss during two different seasons of life, and her difficult course with acquired blindness as an adult after decades of good sight.
Talking with a child about Vision Loss can be difficult for parents – how to explain, how much to say, when to talk, and most important, how to listen and respond to the child. Our practical guide includes sections for both parents and kids, to encourage supportive conversation.
Many children with retinoblastoma have an eye removed to stop the cancer spreading, and save their life. They need support to participate in and own their experiences, and embrace life after enucleation. Our guide to living with a Special Eye is a practical resource for families supporting a child through this experience.
World Rb Registry: Pooled data boosts evidence. From awareness campaigns, incidence and care access to therapies and support programs. It can guide regional strategies to maximize resources, challenge rarity and improve care.
Mattan Arazi, M.D and Ido Didi Fabian, M.D., MPH, world-focused ophthalmologists from Sheba Medical Centre, Israel, explore why global data and collaboration are so important in Rb research, and the knowledge, progress, and hope they are building for families and professional teams worldwide.
Brenda Gallie, global leader in Rb clinical care, research and innovation, discusses an exciting technology promising to improve care during treatment and beyond. DePICTRB supports collaboration among the child’s entire circle of care, gives parents open access to their child’s record, and empowers clinical research.
eXpensive: Retinoblastoma research funding is vital for collaborative studies that aim to improve early diagnosis, sight and life-saving therapies, family support, survivor care, and cancer prevention. For life, foresight!
Research funding is vital to improve retinoblastoma early diagnosis, life and sight-saving treatment, family support, survivor care, and cancer prevention. But securing the funds for rare cancer research is very tough, often demoralising for researchers and clinician-scientists. Three retinoblastoma researchers share their experience, and two organizations helping to drive Rb research forward invite you to help.
You Can! Caring for a child with retinoblastoma, and living with its effects and risks, is hard. Families, survivors, professionals and supporters – we can all contribute to research that improves care quality and outcomes.
The Canadian Retinoblastoma Research Advisory Board (CRRAB) asked families, survivors, health professionals, and researchers: “What questions would you like Rb Research to answer?“ Together, they determined the Top 10 research priorities in Canada. All 10 are globally relevant and featured in this year’s Alphabet Of Hope.
Many factors, besides treatment, influence a child’s outcome from retinoblastoma. The daily lived experience can help medical professionals and researchers understand more deeply and change the future. Families and adult survivors have a key role to play in shaping the best acute and lifelong care.
Zeitgeist: Patient engagement in retinoblastoma care is the spirit of our time. We collaborate to shape and support innovative, inclusive, rigorous real-world research; and holistic service delivery for the best outcomes.
We recap a highly successful first conference in Africa for the International Society of Ocular Oncology, and look forward to One Retinoblastoma World 2024 in Honolulu, Hawaii. With One Rb World meeting co-chairs Dr. Jesse L. Berry, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USA; Sandra E. Staffieri PhD, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Australia; and Marissa D. Gonzalez, World Eye Cancer Hope USA.