New Delhi, May 10 (PTI) Parents of survivors of retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer in children, on Tuesday spoke about their struggles at an event here to commemorate the Retinoblastoma Awareness Week.

In commemoration of Retinoblastoma Awareness Week (May 8- 14), Dr Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital conducted a session with patients, parents, and doctors to create awareness around the condition.

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Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in children and with timely diagnosis and treatment, more than 95 per cent of patients can get completely cured, said Sima Das, head of ocular oncology at the hospital.

Several activities were organized to highlight the socio-economic barriers which prevent patients from accessing the necessary treatment. The event also included a painting competition and various types of art and craft work.

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Narrating her struggles, Kajal, a 36-year-old resident of Bahadurgarh, Haryana, said that her daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma when she was just four months old.

"My daughter is nine years old now. She was diagnosed with retinoblastoma when she was just four months old and since then we started her treatment. Two to three months after she was born, we noticed a whitish spot on her pupils. She used to stay awake and cry all night. There was a point when she even refused to have her meals. That was the time when we rushed to the doctors and she is still under treatment," Kajal told PTI.

"But her condition did not deter her spirits in the academics. She tops in the class every year," she added.

Every year, nearly 1,500-2,000 children are diagnosed and treated for retinoblastoma. Most of these children belong to families from lower socio-economic strata and almost 50 per cent of them have an advanced tumour at presentation and tend to succumb to the disease, doctors said.

“Retinoblastoma can be the worst thing a kid goes through and we try our best to give them a healthy vision. I believe that celebrating this week gives us a platform to spread awareness and encourage parents to have an early eye check-up for their kids,” said Umang Mathur, Executive Director of Dr Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital.

Umesh Agarwal, a resident of Delhi, said that his son was diagnosed with the disease when he was one and half years old.

"We brought him to the hospital after we noticed white spot in his pupil and thereafter, his treatment began. Even though he is undergoing treatment, his studies have never been affected," Agarwal said.

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