Your team of doctors, called a multidisciplinary team (MDT), will care for and treat your child, and will ensure that all your child’s needs are considered while they have cancer treatment. The section called The treatment team has further  information about this.

Treatment for retinoblastoma depends on:

  • the age of your child
  • the size and stage of the cancer
  • other factors.

Doctors will suggest treatments based on your child’s situation. Treatment may involve one or more of the following:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • Laser therapy or cryotherapy (freezing the tumour)



Your child may have surgery to remove the entire eye and part of the optic nerve. This is called enucleation. This is required if the tumour:

  • has damaged your child's eye so much that there is little or no chance they would be able to see again
  • is large
  • has not responded to treatment (called refractory)

It might also be necessary for such surgery if the tumour has come back after treatment (called relapse). Later after the wound has healed, the doctors will put in an artificial eye or implant in the eye socket to take the place of the eye. This is attached to the eye muscles so it can move. A life-like layer can be added to the surface to make an artificial eye.

See How is cancer treated – surgery for more detail about cancer surgery.