Retinoblastoma - Childhood: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of children who are diagnosed with retinoblastoma each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Retinoblastoma makes up 2% of all cancers diagnosed in children before the age of 15. It is the most common eye cancer in children. An estimated 200 to 300 children in the United States will be diagnosed annually with the disease.

Most children who are diagnosed with retinoblastoma are younger than 5 years old. The average age of diagnosis is 2. Girls and boys are diagnosed at equal rates, as are different races and ethnicities. Generally, 3 out of 4 children with retinoblastoma have the disease in 1 eye. The disease is found equally in the left eye and right eye. About 25% of children with retinoblastoma have the disease in both eyes.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of children live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for children with retinoblastoma is 96%. However, that rate depends on several factors, including whether the cancer has spread from the eye to other parts of the body.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for children with retinoblastoma are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on children with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society website. Additional source was: Siegel R, et al.: Cancer Statistics 2021. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2021 Jan; 71(1):7-33. doi/full/10.3322/caac.21654 (sources accessed February 2021).

The next section in this guide is Medical IllustrationsIt offers drawings of body parts often affected by retinoblastoma. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.