Push for Referrals in Retinoblastoma Patients

There is concern within charity groups namely the Children's cancer charity Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) that there are still preventable delays being reported in the diagnosis of childhood eye cancer.

It is claimed that the frontline health staff are overlooking early symptoms and as a result babies and infants are missing out on what could be life saving treatment.

The push for new protocol to prevent such figures from rising, comes after the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week. Last year, it was reported that here in the United Kingdom, 72% of children diagnosed with retinoblastoma were not given urgent referrals which is outlined in the NICE guide.

It was found from the research, that all of the opticians who had examined the youngsters who had the condition prior to its diagnosis had made the appropriate onward referral.

The CHECT chief executive has said that a few of the practices that had chosen not to examine babies and young children had sent their carers away with either very misleading or no information at all about where to seek  further assistance and the need for an urgent examination.

This new referral protocol has been approved by CHECT's medical adviser Ashwin Reddy, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist and retinoblastoma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust. All staff are to be made aware of the need to prioritise appointments for retinoblastoma concerns and a full eye examination, including an ophthalmoscopy and the assessment of the retinal reflex in young children.

This way it is hoped together, all professionals will assist in combating the disease.