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Monday, Nov 20th

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Eye Cancer Causes and Prevention

Genetics is thought to play a role in eye cancer. In regards to retinoblastoma, it is believed that if a tumor develops only in one eye then it isn't hereditary. However, if a tumor occurs in both eyes then it is hereditary. Those who have hereditary retinoblastoma have a rare risk of developing a tumor in the brain and should be monitored on a regular basis.

The cause of intraocular melanoma is still vague. Genetics could play a role, but age is also a factor. The symptoms of this type of cancer usually begin with blurred vision and tenderness of the eye. Advanced symptoms may include loss of vision. If these symptoms persist a person should make an appointment with their ophthalmologist.

Prevention
Patients who receive treatment for eye cancer will typically attend follow-up examinations every three months. Certain tests, such as MRI, may be performed to ensure that the cancer has not reappeared or spread to other areas of the body. Children with retinoblastoma may be at risk for developing other cancers, including brain tumors. They may require regular MRIs or other tests to monitor for a new appearance of cancer. Patients are encouraged to immediately report any new symptoms to their physician. New symptoms can indicate recurrence of a cancer or side effects from treatment.

Eye cancer patients may also face loss of vision or vision impairment and cosmetic problems associated with their treatment. When an eye is removed through enucleation, a prosthesis is used to replace it. In addition, some treatments may cause a sagging or caved-in appearance of the eye, which can also be treated.

There is no known method of preventing eye cancers. People may be able to reduce their risk by limiting their exposure to direct sunlight and wearing sunglasses with 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB absorption. However, there are no steps that a parent or child can take to reduce a child’s risk of developing retinoblastoma.

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