Stating that most cases of eye cancer in the country get detected at alarmingly late stages, doctors here have stressed on the importance of spreading awareness about types of the disease and its symptoms among people to ensure its prevention, detection and treatment.
"Eye cancer in this part of the world is not very frequent but it can make one blind and even turn fatal if not detected at a certain stage. Most of the times the patients come very late and the treatment becomes complex.
"People should be made aware that like all body parts, the eye can also develop cancer and cancer in different organs can travel to the eye," Bikramjit Pal, Ocular Oncology expert in Sankara Nethralaya said at an event in the hospital here ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4.
"The patients come at very late stages to the hospital. Also a lot of patients do not follow the medical protocol," he said.
The doctor said specialised facilities for treating various cancerous tumors of the eye and surrounding structures as well as specialised doctors are scarce in the country.
"In eastern India there is just one such institute while western and central India has nothing that treats eye cancer. You can count the number of medical facilities in the country that specialise in treating eye cancer. Also there are hardly any trained ocular oncologists in the country. There are hardly 10 or 11 people in whole of India," he pointed out.
"The most common form of eye cancer among kids below five years is called Retinoblastoma in which there can be a squint in the eye or it might have a white appearing inside the pupil. Cases of Retinoblastoma can be seen in one among twenty thousand kids," Pal said.
"If it is detected at an early stage the kid and his eyesight both can be saved. But if it gets too late, the cancer can kill the eyesight and even become fatal in some cases," he added.