Retinoblastoma - Childhood: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2022

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 children of 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. About 70% to 80% of eyes can be saved in children with 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 the number of children with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how retinoblastoma in children is diagnosed or treated from the last 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 and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital websites. Additional source wasSiegel R, et al.: Cancer Statistics 2022. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2022 Jan; 72(1):7-33. doi/full/10.3322/caac.21708. (All sources accessed January 2022.)

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.