Retinoblastoma, MSK

What Is Retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children. Most children with retinoblastoma in the United States survive the cancer and go on to lead healthy lives. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, 95 percent of our young patients keep both of their eyes and maintain normal vision, and we have a 99 percent cure rate for retinoblastoma overall.

MSK is the only cancer institution in the world with a staff solely dedicated to treating retinoblastoma. Our team of experts includes world-renowned doctor David Abramson, who pioneered our minimally invasive standard of treatment for this illness. We will work diligently to save your child’s life — and sight.

Retinoblastoma occurs most often in children younger than five. It affects boys and girls in equal numbers. The tumor may be in one eye (unilateral retinoblastoma) or in both eyes (bilateral retinoblastoma). 

Retinoblastoma tumors start in the retina. This is the light-sensitive layer of the eye that lets people see. About 75 percent of retinoblastomas are in only one eye. In 90 percent of retinoblastomas, there is no family history of the disease. There are around 350 new diagnoses of retinoblastoma per year in the United States, making it the seventh most common pediatric cancer.

Learn more about our innovative treatment options.