About the disease
Orbital rhabdomyosarcoma is the cancer of the orbit. In most cases, it develops in children, but in rare cases can develop in adults as well. According to New York Eye Cancer Center, the average age of patients diagnosed with orbital rhabdomyosarcoma is 7-8 years of age. It has been reported that 90% of all cases of orbital rhabdomyosarcoma are pediatric.
Overall, orbital rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare cancer. There are approximately 250 new cases recorded annually. It is important to diagnose orbital rhabdomyosarcoma on time to prevent problems with the eyesight and prevent from spreading in the brain where it will be more difficult to eradicate. Nonetheless, orbital rhabdomyosarcoma rarely metastasizes and there is usually time to cure this type of cancer, that`s why it has good survival rates.
Orbital rhabdomyosarcoma is considered more common among males than females. The risk factors for orbital rhabdomyosarcoma are genetic predisposition and also a family history of orbital rhabdomyosarcomas. Genetic mutations can also contribute to development of orbital rhabdomyosarcoma. The exact cause of orbital rhabdomyosarcoma has not been identified yet. In most cases, orbital rhabdomyosarcoma starts to develop in the orbit. In some cases, it can start in the eyelid or conjunctiva. In rare cases, it can start in the uveal tract, but it happens seldom.
- Droopy eyelid
- Pain in the eyelid
- Blurred vision in some cases
- Tumor near the globe of an eye
- During a general examination, the ophthalmologist will examine the origin of the eye to determine if there are any abnormalities or tumors.
- CT scan and MRI are used to examine the orbital area closer and determine if there is malignancy. Doctors use CT scan for this purpose more frequently as it can show if the orbital bones had been affected by the cancer.
- A biopsy is used to confirm the diagnosis. Very often doctors remove the tumor during biopsy.
- Chemotherapy is used to kill the malignant cells and keep them from spreading.
- Radiotherapy is used to irradiate the tumor and prevent it from spreading to the brain or the lungs. Overall, combination of therapies usually gives good results. According to New York Eye Cancer Center, the survival prognosis for orbital rhabdomyosarcoma reaches 90%, which is very good and promising factor.
- Surgery usually means biopsy and it aims to remove the tumor from the orbit.