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When The Big C Hits Small Fry (Part 3) - Wilm's tumour,Retino blastoma

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Wilm’s tumour (Cancer of the kidney)

Usually strikes children below five. The causes are unknown although a genetic abnormality could be the culprit. The first sign is a painless mass in the tummy, which swells needing a larger underwear size. Other cues are stomach pain, fever, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting and sometimes bloody urine. It is diagnosed by ultrasound, CT or MRI.

Description: Description: The first sign is a painless mass in the tummy, which swells needing a larger underwear size.

The first sign is a painless mass in the tummy, which swells needing a larger underwear size.

It is very curable. 100% survive and younger children and those with smaller tumour fare the best.

The tumour holding kidney is removed. After which the child is given chemo and radiation if necessary.

Retino blastoma (Cancer of the Retina of the Eye)

Represents 2% of childhood cancers and almost always occur before the age of 4, and in both eyes in about 25% of the victim. At least 1500 Indian children develop it every year; 60 per cent cases are detected too late to save an eye. 

It starts from the retina and can not only blind the eye, but can spread to the brain and other body parts, eventually leading to death.

Description: Description: It starts from the retina and can not only blind the eye, but can spread to the brain and other body parts, eventually leading to death.

It starts from the retina and can not only blind the eye, but can spread to the brain and other body parts, eventually leading to death.

It is caused by damage to specific genes that control eye development, which could be inherited from a parent or created in the womb, specially if the mother harbours the HPV virus responsible for cervical cancer.

 Cues include a white pupil or cross eyes, which is confirmed by examination of the retina, CT or MRI.

With treatment — surgery, chemo and radiation -- 90% of the children are cured.

The immediate family should also have regular eye checkups.

Description: Description: With treatment — surgery, chemo and radiation -- 90% of the children are cured.

With treatment — surgery, chemo and radiation -- 90% of the children are cured.

Dr. Preetam Samant, consulting Eye Surgeon, specialist in Vitreoretinal Diseases shares a case study: Sohum, two and a half, was brought in all the way from Uttarakhand because his parents had noticed a white spot in his left eye, and felt that he couldn’t see from that eye. It is challenging to assess visual acuity in a toddler. When I covered Sohum’s right eye he would cry and push away my hand, which indicated that he had no vision in his left eye”. An in direct opthalmoscope revealed a huge 15mm tumour sitting on the retina in the left eye, with chalky calcium deposits on the surface, indicative of Retinoblastoma. A Sonography revealed that the tumour had invaded the optic nerve, to blind the eye. Sohum’s right eye also demonstrated a 2mm tumour which mercifully had not affected the vision in that eye. A CT scan of the brain and a complete body scan showed no distant spread of the tumour. Sadly the blind left eye had to be removed, as it was life threatening, after three cycles of chemotherapy. 

 “The small tumour in the right eye was treated with Cryotherapy, i.e., by freezing and destroying it. Three months later it had shrunk satisfactorily. A realistic cosmetic eye shell was put in place in the left. Today, Sohum at 5, and well-adjusted in school, comes to Mumbai every six months for an eye checkup. His right eye has a visual acuity of 616 N6.” 

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