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Key Statistics for Retinoblastoma

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Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children. It accounts for about 2% of all childhood cancers. Still, it is rare overall. Only about 200 to 300 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma each year in the United States.

Retinoblastoma is most common in infants and very young children. The average age of children is 2 when it is diagnosed. It rarely occurs in children older than 6.

About 3 out of 4 children with retinoblastoma have a tumor in only one eye (known as unilateral retinoblastoma). In about 1 case in 4, both eyes are affected (known as bilateral retinoblastoma).

Retinoblastoma occurs about equally in boys and girls and in different races and ethnicities. It also occurs equally in the right or left eye.

Overall, more than 9 out of 10 children in the United States with retinoblastoma are cured, but the outlook is not as good if the cancer has spread outside of the eye.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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Hurwitz RL, Shields CL, Shields JA, et al. Chapter 27: Retinoblastoma. In: Pizzo PA, Poplack DG, eds. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016.

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Last Revised: January 8, 2020

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