Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that begins in the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye. It develops when cells within the retina called retinoblasts grow uncontrollably and form one or more tumours in the eye.
Types of retinoblastoma include:
- Heritable retinoblastoma – caused by a genetic mutation that is inherited or occurs in the womb. Heritable retinoblastoma usually affects both eyes and can result in multiple tumours
- Sporadic (non-heritable) retinoblastoma – develops when a gene mutation occurs in early childhood. Sporadic retinoblastoma is only ever associated with a single tumour in one eye
According to the Singapore Childhood Cancer Registry, retinoblastoma is the eighth most common childhood cancer in Singapore accounting for 3.2% of all cases and primarily occurs in children under the age of five years.