National Retinoblastoma Day

In 2012, INCTR Brazil, in collaboration with TUCCA, succeeded in having September 18th declared as the National Day of Awareness and Incentive to Early Diagnosis of Retinoblastoma in Brazil. Since then, various events have been held each year on this date that are designed to increase awareness of retinoblastoma – an eye cancer which occurs predominantly in the first few years of life. If not detected and treated before the tumor has progressed beyond the eye socket a high proportion of patients die, while if treated when the disease is confined to the eye, most patients are cured, although a high fraction, until recently, lost the involved eye and If both eyes are involved blindness can occur. The events of 18th September, which take place in various parts of the country, provide information for parents – and primary care doctors – about the importance of early referral to a specialized ophthalmologist (In recent years new treatment techniques have been developed that can be carried out even in low income countries and which have led to higher cure rates while preserving sight in more than 75% of patients with retinoblastoma in Brazil and many other countries. Retinoblastoma therapy has been revolutionized, but without education of the public and general physicians, patients will continue to have a poor therapy outcome or lose their sight. This year, the messages were emphasized by turning off the lights of many major monuments such as the Flor do Cerrado Tower in Brasília, the Liberdade Square in Belo Horizonte, Julio Prestes Cultural Complex/Sala São Paulo stately Clock Tower the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo, Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Cathedral in São Luis do Maranhão and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro for about 10 minutes after dark in a symbolic demonstration of what it means to be unable to see. Another event took place at the time of the Brazilian Football (Soccer) Championship match between Santos Football Club and Santa Cruz Football Club at the Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo. Players from the team Palmeiras entered the field prior to the match carrying banners stating that “Eye cancer in children can blind and kill.” INCTR Brazil and TUCCA hold many other activities to promote awareness in order to ensure that children with this cancer are diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

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