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Retinoblastoma Treatment

The main goal of treatment for retinoblastoma at MD Anderson is to treat the tumor and prevent the spread of the cancer to other parts of the body. The eye is spared whenever possible, but may require removal.

Laser treatment, or photocoagulation, is a very successful treatment for small tumors that are confined to the retina but do not involve the optic disc or the area near it called the macula.

Cryotherapy, or freezing treatment, is performed in multiple sessions to treat small, peripheral tumors.

Chemotherapy may be used to reduce the size of the tumor to maximize the effect of localized therapy such as laser or cryotherapy. It may also allow a lower dose of radiation to be used.

Radiation therapy is a very effective treatment for retinoblastoma. Two types of radiation therapy may be used, depending upon the size and location of the tumor and the extent of disease: Plaque radiotherapy (also known as brachytherapy) or external beam radiotherapy.

Enucleation surgery, or removal of the eye, may be performed when the tumor fills more than half the eye, when other structures in the eye are involved or when the retina is detached. Because tumors are detected earlier now than in the past, and more conservative treatments can be used, there has been a significant decrease in enucleation.

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.

Our Retinoblastoma Clinical Trials

Some of  the most innovative treatments for retinoblastoma are offered as part of clinical trials, which are closely monitored studies to test the safety and effectiveness of new treatments. Go to MD Anderson's list of current pediatric clinical trials to see if your child might be eligible.

You can also visit our Clinical Trials database or speak to your doctor.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • 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

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