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Retinoblastoma is a cancerous tumour affecting the retina (inner layer of nerve tissue in the eye that senses light and transmit images to the brain) and occurs when the nerve cells in the retina develop genetic mutations. It is a cancer of early childhood, affecting 1 in every 15,000- 18,000 children.
It can affect developing fetuses in the womb, newborn and children. It is typically diagnosed in children before 7 years of age, and can occur in one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) eyes. In about two-thirds (60%) of all cases, only one eye is affected.
If left untreated, the tumour cells can invade beyond the eyeball into surrounding structures, as well as spread to the other parts of the body, including the brain and spine, becoming a life-threatening disease.