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Retinoblastoma Diagnosis

Several procedures are used to diagnose retinoblastoma, including:

  • Funduscopic eye exam: the eye is anesthetized and the pupils dilated so the retina can be examined
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Blood tests
  • DNA and/or genetic testing

If there is family history of retinoblastoma, frequent examinations are performed at many stages throughout the child’s development to see if any tumors have formed. Diagnosis may be made before there are any symptoms.

After a diagnosis is made, staging, or testing to determine size, number, location and whether or not the tumors have spread to other parts of the body, will be performed, and is an important part of designing a treatment plan.

Second Opinions at MD Anderson

The pathologists at MD Anderson are highly specialized in diagnosing and staging retinoblastoma, and we welcome the opportunity to provide second opinions.

If you would like to get a second opinion at MD Anderson, call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • The Children’s Cancer Hospital is within the No. 1 cancer center in America
  • Access to novel therapies and state-of-the-art technologies before most children’s hospitals
  • We see more types of cancer than any other children’s hospital in Texas
  • Family-centered care that actively involves parents in their child’s treatment
  • A strong cancer research program focused on developing new therapies for pediatric patients
  • Comprehensive support services such as an accredited school program, creative arts, child life and career counseling
  • An Adolescent and Young Adult Program that specializes in the unique medical and psychological needs of patients aged 15-25

Retinoblastoma Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Childhood retinoblastoma is treated in our:

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Retinoblastoma Staging

(source: National Cancer Institute)

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the eye or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment.

The following stages are used for retinoblastoma:

Intraocular retinoblastoma: Cancer is found in the eye and may be only in the retina or may also be in other parts of the eye such as the choroid, ciliary body, or part of the optic nerve. Cancer has not spread to tissues around the outside of the eye or to other parts of the body.

Extraocular retinoblastoma: Cancer has spread beyond the eye. It may be found in tissues around the eye or it may have spread to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) or to other parts of the body such as the bone marrow or lymph nodes.

Recurrent retinoblastoma is cancer that has recurred (come back) after it has been treated. The cancer may recur in the eye, in tissues around the eye, or in other places in the body.

If your child has been diagnosed with retinoblastoma, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center