When Vinuth was 1 month old he was diagnosed with a white ‘reflex’ in his left eye. His condition remained monitored by local health care providers. At almost 2 years old, he was examined by Dr Lom Orng at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital (KSFH) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Dr Lom Orng was trained as the first Ocular Oncologist in Cambodia, completing her Fellowship with Sight For All in 2020.
Dr Long’s examination showed that Vinuth had a large tumor, filling more than 75% of his eye socket. This cancer is called retinoblastoma and affects young children, with 90% of those affected living in developing countries, including Cambodia. Survival rates in Australia are nearly 100%; however, are less than 50% in countries like Cambodia, primarily because of the advanced disease at the time of presentation and delay in diagnosis.
Given the size of his cancer, Vinuth had two treatment options available; chemotherapy or the surgical removal of the cancer, along with the removal of his eye. Dr Lom Orng, along with oncologists at KSFH, opted for the less invasive chemotherapy treatment.
Within 2 weeks, Vinuth was admitted to the ICU for symptoms including rapid weight loss, hematemesis and anaemia. Shortly after, Vinuth’s parents made the difficult decision to proceed with the removal of Vinuth’s retinoblastoma and his left eye.
The decision saved his life.
The surgery went smoothly and Dr Lom Orng successfully removed the retinoblastoma. Less than 8 weeks later, recovering nicely from the operation, Vinuth was fitted with his new prosthetic left eye.
Vinuth was fortunate to be treated by Dr Lom Orng and the team at KSFH. He has retained vision in his right eye, but most importantly, his is alive and his retinoblastoma has been removed.