Category Archives: Advice & Tips

Will my Cancer Come Back?


One of the most common concerns Survivors have is that the cancer will come back – this fear is very real and entirely normal, but although one cannot control whether the cancer returns or not, one can certainly control how much the fear of recurrence affects one’s life.

Cancer is unfortunately not one of those diseases for which there is a cure – there is no cure for cancer!

When an individual has “survived” cancer, they are not cured, but merely in remission because there is never a guarantee that the cancer will not return – either in the same place or even in a completely different part of the body.

Living with the uncertainty about whether the cancer will come back or not is never easy, but one cannot let it get you or your child down or impair your or your child’s life in any way.

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Childhood Cancer Survivorship


Getting cancer is something NOBODY wants, and it is even more tragic when a young soul is diagnosed with cancer. Fighting cancer is a battle that leaves many scars, not all of them physical…

Those who have survived cancer are often left with a different appreciation of life, even children who have not yet lived much of theirs.

Survivors can also, however, become very anxious about their health; about whether the cancer will return; about the visits to the doctor for the next how many ever years, and then when the regular visits stop.

Another problem is that unless you have had cancer or have cared for someone who has survived cancer, there is NO WAY you can understand what a cancer Survivor goes through for the rest of their life! Most people seem to think that having cancer is a temporary situation and that once you are through the treatments it means that you are cured and life should just continue as per normal – this is FAR from the truth!

Cancer is in effect a revolving door, and at any moment a scan could land a Survivor right back in the territory of Active Cancer Treatment

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Helen’s Story – Retinoblastoma Part 2


 

Helen 2nd birthday mickey mouse party

Hey There,

Helen and mommy Siobahn here again – today we are going to continue with “Helen’s Story” because we want everyone out there to know about Childhood Cancer and about my cancer, Retinoblastoma.

Now that the problem had been diagnosed as Retinoblastoma, things moved along very quickly. The diagnosis was made on the Thursday and the operation to remove the eye was scheduled for the next Monday.

Helen underwent an MRI Scan as well as a Lumbar Puncture in order to determine whether cancer was present anywhere else in Helen’s body. Fortunately all tests came back negative and it was determined that the cancer was confined to Helen’s left eye.

Helen underwent surgery to remove the eye and she and mommy stayed overnight in ICU and in the normal Paediatric ward the next night, during which time Helen she had a plaster over her eye. The plaster was removed before she went home the next day and replaced by a transparent shield to prevent infection and was removed two weeks later.

A ball implant was inserted into the empty eye socket and Helen currently wears nothing over the eye  – she will get a prosthesis when she is a little bit older and able to handle the hygiene it requires (toddlers tend to play in the sand or touch unhygienic toys etc. and then rub their eyes).

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Helen’s Story – Retinoblastoma Part 1


 

Helen 7 months old

Hi,

my name is Helen and my mommy and I would like to share my story with you so that more people can get to know about Childhood Cancer; in this case specifically Retinoblastoma.

Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina, and can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.

Retinoblastoma may occur in one or both eyes, but rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Although it is the most common eye tumour in children, it is a rare childhood cancer and accounts for about 3-4% of childhood cancers.

The main challenge of treating Retinoblastoma is the prevention of blindness, however approximately 98% of children with retinoblastoma are cured.

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Foodie Friday: Healthy Vegetarian/Vegan Meals


foodiefriday-wp-logoA diagnosis of cancer and subsequent treatment can result in irregular food and fluid intake, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies. There is frequently an increased need for calories and protein while there is usually a decreased appetite.

Chemotherapy, for example, works by killing or disabling cancer cells. Unfortunately, this targets not only the tumour, but some healthy tissues as well, including the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

While some of these drugs produce only mild side effects, others can pack a wallop. The effects of radiation therapy can be similar to those of chemotherapy, but these are usually related to the part of the body that is being treated. This means that radiation to the head, neck, chest, and abdomen can result in a lot of GI distress.

Side Effects That Cancer Patients Experience

  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Open, sore areas in the mouth and/or throat
  • Loss or change of taste perception
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Feeling of fullness after eating or drinking very small portions

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10 Portions of Fruit &Veg Daily Best for Health


fruits-and-vegetables-smAccording to most doctors and nutritionists, eating five portions of fruits and vegetables daily is considered sufficient for good health, but a recent study, reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology,  posits that the greatest benefits come from eating 10 portions a day.

An analysis of 95 studies assessing the health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption have led researchers to believe that eating 800 grams (around 10 portions of 80 grams) of fruits and vegetables daily was associated with the lowest risk of disease and premature death.

One portion of fruits of vegetables was defined as 80 grams – the equivalent to a small banana, pear, or apple, or three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as peas, broccoli, or cauliflower.

The study, undertaken by Lead author Dr. Dagfinn Aune, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues, took into consideration 95 studies that involved almost 2 million participants and around 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and 94,000 deaths.

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How To: Boost Your Child with Cancer’s Mood


children-dancing-smallJust the mere word “cancer” is enough to send most people into a fit of depression, and this is no different for a child.

A diagnosis of cancer, together with the treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy, the pain, nausea, hair loss, anaemia, and the constant hospital visits or having to stay indoors and not have friends around or go to school due to an impaired immune system can get anyone down and moody.

Childhood cancer is vile, despicable, wretched, depressing, demoralising, and soul-wrenching, and the best thing that you can do for your Little Fighter is to help them feel better by boosting their mood.

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Foodie Friday: Pasta, Kebabs & Power Bombs


foodiefriday-wp-logoWOW! Can you believe that another week has flown past and it is once again Foodie Friday? We hope that you have all had a great, healthy and fun-filled week and that all our Little Fighters are feeling strong!

As we all know, Children with Cancer often struggle to eat due to problems with their mouths or throats due to their treatment, or because cancer treatment makes one nauseous and takes away the appetite.

Eating well and getting sufficient nutrition, however, is paramount in building up their immune systems and in helping them to maintain their weight and fight the cancer

Here are some more tasty, healthy recipes that we hope that you and your Little Fighter will enjoy making and eating…

 

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Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Children with Cancer


foodiefriday-wp-logoDoctors have yet to find a definitive link between cancer and food. What they have found, however, is a correlation between certain diets — such as the Mediterranean Diet — and the potential for cancer reduction. Doctors call these diets (often specific to a culture or geographical region) anti-angiogenic, which means that they cut off the blood supply of cancerous tumours, starving them of the nutrients they need to grow.

An easy way to ensure that your Child with Cancer gets sufficient vitamins and nutrition when they find it difficult to eat due to cancer treatments is to make them some delicious cancer-beating smoothies to drink using fruit and veg that have cancer-fighting properties in them

Smoothies have gotten a bad rap in the past for being sugar-laden and more closely resembling dessert than anything remotely healthy, but while that might be true for smoothies purchased at juice shops or in restaurants, you can make healthy smoothie recipes right at home for a fraction of the price in just minutes.

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Recipes for High-Calorie Shakes and Drinks


foodiefriday-wp-logoHi Folks, it is Foodie Friday again, and following on yesterday’s post regarding ensuring that your Child with Cancer gets sufficient calories and proteins in their diet to help them fight their cancer and continue to develop and grow naturally at the same time, here are some great drinks recipes.

For parents of Children with Cancer, the challenges of enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods are even greater than those faced by parents of healthy children, and require untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.

Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your child’s body tolerates certain foods and its ability to process, store and appropriately use nutrients at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.

Some Children with Cancer also find it difficult to eat or swallow as a result of the cancer treatments, son one of the best methods of getting them in ingest nutrition is via smoothies and other healthy drinks.

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High Calorie/High Protein Diet for Children with Cancer


calorie-protein-pyramidNutrition is an important part of the health of all children, but it is especially important for Children with Cancer, who often have poor appetites as a result of the cancer itself, or due to the side-effects of the cancer treatments.

Both cancer and its treatments may affect a child’s appetite, tolerance to foods, and their body’s ability to use nutrients. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help a child feel better and stay stronger.

For parents of Children with Cancer, the challenges of enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods are even greater than those faced by parents of healthy children, and require untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.

Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your child’s body tolerates certain foods and its ability to process, store and appropriately use nutrients at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.

The nutrient needs of Children with Cancer vary from child to child. Your child’s doctor, nurses, and a registered dietitian can help identify nutrition goals and plan ways to help your child meet them.

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When Your Child with Cancer is Taking Steroids


child-cancer-and-steroidsSteroids occur naturally within our bodies, but can also be made in the laboratory for medical purposes. They help reduce inflammation and control different functions in our bodies such as the immune system or the way the body uses food. One of their key functions is to reduce inflammation/swelling and ease associated symptoms, such as headaches.

When your child has a tumour in their brain it is not only the tumour itself that causes some of the symptoms they may have, but also the swelling surrounding the tumour. This swelling puts pressure on surrounding tissues making the effects of the tumour wider reaching. This pressure can cause symptoms such as headaches, sickness and seizures (fits).

To help reduce the swelling, Children with Cancer may be prescribed steroids such as Prednisone or Dexamethasone as part of their treatment. As steroids are fast-acting drugs this could mean that some of the effects caused by the tumour reduce quite quickly. This does not mean, however, that the size of tumour itself has been reduced.

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