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Doctor Solve / cancer  / Eye Cancer – the symptoms to look for

Eye Cancer – the symptoms to look for

These days, I see a lot of people using camera phones for photos. I have nothing against this, but there’s something to be said about the old-style cameras with a real flash.
What does this have to do with seeing eye cancer symptoms?
Actually, a fair bit.
To see if someone has a rare form of eye cancer, called retinoblastoma, all you need is a regular camera with a traditional flash feature. That’s it. Cell phone cameras won’t cut it, I’m afraid. And it’s by no means an all-encompassing text.
But, for seeing some forms of eye cancer, especially eye cancer in children, it works.
 
Seeing Eye Cancer Symptoms at Home
Get out the old camera with a flash feature. Turn the red-eye reduction off. Make your way into a dimly lit room with someone willing to snap a few shots. Then, take a few photos from different angles.
Essentially, we’re going for the ‘red eye’ phenomenon here. See, red-eye happens when the flash bounces off of a healthy retina, making the pupils look red.
But, if someone has retinoblastoma, instead of a red-eye, you’ll see yellow or white. This yellow or white pupil is the eye cancer symptom you’re looking for.
And if you find it, you’d better make a doctor’s appointment.
What’s happening is that instead of the flash light reflecting off of a healthy retina, it’s reflecting off of the tumor, which looks white-ish. That’s why different angles are necessary: so that you get a better chance of reflecting light off of a tumor.
Now, that’s not to say that every time you see white instead of red, it counts as a cancer symptom for retinoblastoma. That’s not the case. Sometimes, when the optic nerve and the pupil are in exactly the right place, you’ll see yellow or white.
Still, it’s worth a doctor’s visit, especially if the one photographed is under 5 years old.
 
These Symptoms Can Indicate Eye Cancer in Children
Usually, children under the age of 5 are the ones that show these eye cancer symptoms in home photos. Tumors can start developing at any time, but usually present themselves by that age. Sometimes, tumors even start to grow before a child is born.
If your child does get a diagnosis for retinoblastoma, don’t worry that it was something done during pregnancy. This isn’t likely, and we haven’t yet seen evidence to suggest that retinoblastoma is caused before birth by some external factor.
Overall, this disease is quite rare. Only about 1 in 15,000 babies have it.
If you’re looking to see what this phenomenon looks like , check out this website made by the Canadian Retinoblastoma Society. You’ll see some good photos and have the chance to download pamphlets for more information.
 
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Dr. Zickler

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