Can retinoblastoma be prevented?
With many cancers in adults, the risk of cancer can be reduced by avoiding certain risk factors, such as smoking or exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. But there are no known avoidable risk factors for retinoblastoma. So there is nothing that a parent or child could have done to prevent this cancer. If your child does develop retinoblastoma, it is important to realize that you or your child did nothing to cause it.
Some cases of retinoblastoma are hereditary, so survivors should consider genetic counseling before having children to understand the risks of passing the gene change on to their children and perhaps to explore ways to avoid this. For example, an option some people might consider would be to use in vitro fertilization and implant only embryos that don’t have the gene change.
If a preventive option is not used, children born into a family with a history of retinoblastoma should be screened for this cancer starting shortly after birth because early detection of this cancer greatly improves the chance for successful treatment. See the next section, “Can retinoblastoma be found early?” for more information.
Last Medical Review: 08/06/2012
Last Revised: 08/06/2012