Why is retinoblastoma resurgent?

29 October 2021
Autumn 2021

Adrian O’Dowd asks how optometrists should respond to a rise in the rate of retinoblastoma in children across Europe.

Research suggests that the number of children with retinoblastoma (Rb) is rising in Europe (Stacey et al, 2021). This rare form of eye cancer, usually found in young children, has been reported as affecting one in 15,000 to 18,000 live births. Within age groups, that is 12 cases per one million children under five years old, six cases per million under 10 and four cases per million under 15 (Broaddus et al, 2009; Seregard et al, 2004). 

The previously estimated rate has risen to around one child in every 13,915 children, or 14.1 and 4.6 per one million children younger than five and 15 years old respectively. The only statistically influential variable was the number of children being born in a country to families who already had Rb.

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