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  • Should I worry that my son has congenital retinal pigment epithelial hypertrophy (CHRPE) and it's connection to cancer?


    Question:

    My 14-year-old son has worn glasses for nearsightedness since he was 8 years old. At his regular exam, the optician examining his eyes told me he has a CHRPE (congenital retinal pigment epithelial hypertrophy) in his right eye which is a tiny speck. He told us about CHRPE's being connected to bowel cancer and other conditions, then he said it was nothing to worry about because we would know all about it if these conditions were in the family. He also said there was no need to refer us for any further evaluations. I don't understand why he would say all this then tell me it's nothing to worry about. Can you tell me if I have reason to worry?


    Answer:

    There is a rare condition where CHRPE lesions are associated with colon polyps that can be cancerous. However, this occurs when there are multiple CHRPE lesions called "bear tracks," not with a single isolated CHRPE spot. When there is an isolated lesion, we are not concerned about the association with polyps or bowel cancer. I do not think there is reason to worry, but would encourage you to have your son evaluated by a retina specialist or even an ocular oncologist.


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