Smartphones can Detect Eye Cancer in Your Children

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 News on IT in Healthcare J E 4
India has the highest number of Retinoblastoma (Rb) affected children in the world, with about 1500 new cases reported each year informed Dr. Santosh G. Honavar, Director, Medical Services, CFS and Head, Ocular Oncology while addressing a press conference here in city on the occasion of World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week.

The press conference was called for on the occasion of World Retinoblastoma Week observed from May 8-15, 2016. The objective was to promote awareness about Retinoblastoma. The conference was graced by two other expert doctors Dr Vijay Anand P Reddy, Oncology, CFS Hyderabad and Apollo Cancer Hospital and Dr. Baddam Shridhar Reddy, Interventional Radiologist, Apollo Hospitals.

Speaking on the occasion Doctor Santosh G. Honavar said Smartphones can detect eye cancer in your children . Because Retinooblastoma, eye cancer in children can show as a white pupil in flash photos. It can take lives of many kids. It is a quite a regular practice to take photos of children on their birthdays. If you notice a white reflection in the eyes of your child instead of black in those photos, that is the symptom of Retinoblastoma, the eye cancer in kids. There are some apps like The CRADLE app also known as the White Eye Detector based on Android and other platforms are now available, make it possible to scan photos for the glow. Which can help detect cancer in kids said Dr. Santosh Honavar.

Dr. Santosh Honavar

Adding more details, Dr Vijay Anand P Reddy said Intra-arterial (IA) chemotherapy for the treatment of intraocular retinoblastoma, is a new treatment regimen that is gaining popularity all over the country. The procedure is relatively new and has been very effective. Just two hospitals one is Centre For Sight in Hyderabad and the other one Tata Memorial Center in Mumbai are the two hospitals who have been treating patients with this technology. They are the only two hospitals in the country to offer the treatment as of now, they informed.

This new Intra-arterial chemotherapy delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to a tumor unlike in the old procedure, intravenous chemotherapy which can also affect other healthy tissues. The procedure which costs Rs 1.25 lakh as against the old procedure costed only Rs 5000/- minimizes exposure to healthy tissues. This new delivery method minimizes side effects, like nausea and vomiting, and maximizes the cancer-killing properties of the drugs. The new method delivers medicine directly to the cancer effected area in the eye. This method is 10 to 15 per cent more effective than the old method, he declared.

As this is the new technique and not many hospitals are offering, Centre For Sight has been attracting lot of international patients. During the last six months since the procedure is being offered, it has treated about 20 cases of which one third of them are overseas patients from countries like Yemen, Oman, Philippines, Indonesia etc. CFS and Hyderabad has the advantage of now attracting more international patients for Retinoblastoma treatment. It can be good potential for health tourism, said Dr. Santosh Honavar. The cost of this treatment here in our city is one tenth of the west, which charges 30,000 dollars, where as we charge just 2000 dollars, he informed. Dr. Santosh is confident of attracting more and more international patients for this procedure as we have advantage for some time now, he informed.

Two patients from Yemen and Oman who have approached CFS for removal of eye ball were not only treated the affected eye and restored the eye sight instead of removing them. Saleh Ahmade from Yemen and Sayeed from Oman were grateful to these Indian doctors for their break through work in Occular Oncology. CFS has been attracting lot of patients from various states in India and abroad. 90 per cent of our patients are from outside Telangana, declared Dr. Santosh Honavar.

Retinoblastoma is the most common and life-threatening eye cancer in very young children, new born to 3 years of age, generally resulting in removal of the eye. Each year, more than 5000 new cases of retinoblastoma are diagnosed in the World, of which a third (over 1500) are diagnosed in India. Awareness on Retinoblastoma is low and it can be completely curable with life, eye and vision salvage, if detected early. With improved techniques and technologies, survival of children with Retinoblastoma has improved but low awareness is still a cause of concern. If the child is examined early by a child specialist or an eye doctor and referred to an eye cancer specialist for treatment, then the cancer can be controlled and the child’s life, eye and vision can be saved.

Dr. Santosh G Honavar, Ocular Oncologist has been working for the cause of retinoblastoma for over 15 years and have together treated over 2000 children with retinoblastoma with 95% life salvage, 90% eye salvage, and 85% vision salvage. Dr. Santosh said, “Our time-tested, evidence-based and experience-driven treatment protocols at Centre For Sight for early and advanced intraocular retinoblastoma, orbital retinoblastoma and adjuvant therapy are personalized to each child to optimize the outcome.”, informed Dr. Santosh.

Eye cancer specialist treats retinoblastoma by chemotherapy, laser and brachytherapy (an advanced form of local radiotherapy), focusing on saving the child’s life, salvaging the eye, and protecting the vision. Treatment ensures 95% of the children are saved from death, over 90% have their eye intact, and over 85% have their vision protected. To save the child’s life and prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, the eye may have to be removed in advanced cases. It is possible then, to fit a life-like artificial eye on the child to ensure normal appearance.

During the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week May 8 to 15, efforts are dedicated to generating public awareness about retinoblastoma, the most common and life-threatening eye cancer in very young children, new born to 3 years of age. To provide special care and attention for Retinoblastoma patients, Centre for Sight (CFS) Super Specialty Eye Hospital, Hyderabad has a dedicated team comprising of an ocular oncologist, pediatric oncologist, ophthalmic oncopathologist, expert chemotherapy nurse, and an ocularist, announced Dr. Santosh G. Honavar, Director - Medical Services and Head – Ocular Oncology & Oculoplasty, CFS Hyderabad. The National Retinoblastoma Foundation at the Centre for Sight, Hyderabad is a fully equipped referral centre for cost-effective and comprehensive management of retinoblastoma. The Centre plans to have special programs to promote the awareness on Retinoblastoma during the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week to be observed from May 08 to 15, 2016.

The annual World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week is an opportunity for organizations, families and survivors worldwide to raise awareness and promote early detection by spreading the word to parents, grandparents, pediatricians, and others concerned about children's eye health informed Dr. Santosh.


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