Category Archives: Brain Cancer

Foodie Friday: Malnutrition & Brain Tumour Patients


Malnutrition at the diagnosis of cancer is not an uncommon finding in the developing world.

Malnutrition describes the consequences of insufficient protein-energy intake. Malnutrition is an unspecific term used to define an inadequate nutritional condition. It is characterized by either a deficiency or an excess of energy with measurable adverse effects on clinical outcome. 

Malnutrition describes the consequences of insufficient protein-energy intake. An adequate protein-energy balance is a prerequisite for age-appropriate growth and maintenance.

Nutrition is very important for Children with Cancer, because the presence of the tumour as well as the treatments that they undergo play havoc with their immune systems as well as various other systems in their little bodies.

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Are there Risk Factors for Brain Cancer in Children?


A risk-factor is anything that affects a person’s chance of getting a disease such as brain cancer.

Different types of cancer have different risk factors, and this article only deals with the potential risk-factors for brain cancer.

Lifestyle-related risk-factors such as diet, body weight, physical activity, and tobacco use play a major role in many adult cancers, but these factors usually take many years to influence cancer risk, therefore logic says that they do not have much of a role in childhood cancers, including brain tumours.

Very few risk factors have been found for brain and spinal cord tumours. There is no clear cause for most of these tumours.

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FOODIE FRIDAY: Nutritious Recipes for Children with Brain Cancer


Nutrition is very important for Children with Cancer, because the presence of the tumour as well as the treatments that they undergo play havoc with their immune systems as well as various other systems in their little bodies.

A malignant tumour leads to changes in a child’s metabolism; their system is unable to regulate the expenditure of energy according to the reduced energy intake, leading to an ineffective use of nutrients and contributing to the development of malnutrition. Malnutrition can lead to lower survival rates in children with brain cancer.

Children with cancer, especially those with solid tumours, have reduced body protein stores due to whole body protein breakdown. This may occur as a result of the cancer itself, the treatment they are undergoing for their tumour, or complications of the disease.

 

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Why & How are Brain Tumours Graded?


Brain tumours are the most common solid tumour in children under the age of 15.

When discovered early enough, brain tumours are usually treatable. Many that are slow-growing are cured with surgery alone. Other types that are faster-growing might need additional treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, or both.

Brain tumours are graded on a scale of 1 to 4, based on how malignant, or cancerous, they are – that is, how abnormal their cells appear under a microscope.

A grade of 1 is the least malignant, and 4 is the most malignant.

A tumour may contain cells of different grades, but it is classified by its highest-grade cells.

The purpose of the brain tumour grading system is to indicate the tumour’s likely growth rate and how likely it is to spread within the brain– information used in predicting outcomes and treatment planning.

Brain tumours are graded and classified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Grades are often assigned to gliomas, which are tumours that develop in the supporting glial cells of the brain or spine. Gliomas make up about 30% of all brain and central nervous system tumours, and about 80% of all malignant brain tumours.

The most common malignant brain tumours are glioblastomas.

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Side Effects of Childhood Brain Cancer


Childhood Brain Tumours are different to Adult Brain Tumours because their brains are still growing and developing.

This means that the side effects that childhood cancer sufferers experience will generally be unique to their age and stage of development.

The side-effects of a brain tumour can be taxing on both the child and the parents, as well as the family and even teachers and classmates.

It is important therefore that you take note of how your child is feeling and what problems they are experiencing and that you talk to them about it – remember though that they may not feel like discussing what they are going through.

It is also important the you discuss any side-effects with their oncology team, who should be able to help or refer you to professionals who can help.

 

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Foodie Friday: Best Nutrition for Children with Brain Cancer


It is vital that Children with Cancer, including Children with Brain Cancer, eat well-balanced, nutritional meals and snacks in order to maintain their weight, rebuild any tissue lost in treatment, and strengthen their immune system and power it to fight against the brain cancer.

The occurrence of malnutrition in children with childhood tumours is multifactorial and develops during therapy for cancer in 40-80% of children. Malnutrition is more commonly seen in patients with advanced neuroblastoma, Wilms tumour, Ewing sarcoma and advanced lymphomas.

Malnutrition is usually more severe with aggressive tumours in the later stages of malignancy. Children who have a poor nutritional status have lower survival rates compared to those with a good nutritional status.

The majority of childhood cancers are treated by combined modality therapy, including surgery, radiotherapy, and antineoplastic schedules commonly providing a

 

variety of side effects, which may lead a child into a state of nutritional deprivation.

Each of these treatment modalities may produce injuries to major organ systems (liver and pancreas), and a combination of therapies could result in a synergism of adverse effects.

Multimodality therapies combined with the effects of the tumour itself affect nutritional status and damage rapidly growing cells, e.g., in the gastrointestinal tract, causing serious and undesirable symptoms. Read the rest of this entry

Brain Cancer


Brain tumours can be either primary (develop in the brain) or secondary (cancer from another part of the body spreads to the brain).

A primary brain tumour occurs when abnormal cells form in the tissues of the brain.

Brain tumours are the most common type of tumour that develops in children, and they can affect children of any age.

The brain and spinal cord are closely linked and together they form the Central Nervous System (CNS). The spinal cord connects the brain with nerves in virtually every part of the human body. The brain controls many vital bodily functions.

The brain consists of three major parts:

  • The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It sits at the top of the head and controls learning, emotions, thinking, speech, reading, writing, and voluntary movement.
  • The cerebellum is the lower back part of the brain and lies near the middle of the back of the head. It controls balance, movement and posture
  • The brain stem is the lowest part of the brain and is situated just above the back of the neck. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls heart rate, breathing, and all the muscles you use to walk, talk, hear, see, and eat

Malignant brain tumours grow rapidly and are likely to spread into other areas of the brain very quickly. When a tumour grows into or creates pressure on part of the brain it may cause that part of the brain to stop functioning the way it should.

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May is International Brain Cancer Awareness Month


ribbon_gray_brain_cancer03May is International Brain Cancer Awareness Month, but what does that really mean? Do YOU know anything about Brain Cancer? Do YOU know what happens to a Child with Brain Cancer? Have you got ANY idea of what a Child with Brain Cancer experiences, or what their parents go through as they watch their offspring battle Brain Cancer?

Children should be able to be children – to run around and play without care, and to learn as they grow, both at school and through learning via socialising, play and good parenting. When a child gets brain cancer, most of this goes out of the window, as the tumour grows and affects the areas of the brain that control speech, sight, balance, personality/emotions, language, understanding, and sensation.

It is heart-breaking for any parent to watch their child lose all that they have learned to do as they grew and going backwards day by day in everything that makes them who they are. It is difficult to deal with a child who has mood swings and goes from being an angelic youngster to being a total rebel who has become uncontrollable; to care for a child who has become a little adult and to watch them going back to being a helpless infant who cannot dress themselves, feed themselves, control their bladder, keep themselves entertained; and who doesn’t understand what is going on… Read the rest of this entry

Brain Cancer


Brain Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Brain tumours can be either primary (develop in the brain) or secondary (cancer from another part of the body spreads to the brain).

A primary brain tumour occurs when abnormal cells form in the tissues of the brain.

Brain tumours are the most common type of tumour that develops in children, and they can affect children of any age.

The brain and spinal cord are closely linked and together they form the Central Nervous System (CNS). The spinal cord connects the brain with nerves in virtually every part of the human body. The brain controls many vital bodily functions.

The brain consists of three major parts:

  • The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It sits at the top of the head and controls learning, emotions, thinking, speech, reading, writing, and voluntary movement.
  • The cerebellum is the lower back part of the brain and lies near the middle of the back of the head. It controls balance, movement and posture
  • The brain stem is the lowest part of the brain and is situated just above the back of the neck. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls heart rate, breathing, and all the muscles you use to walk, talk, hear, see, and eat

Malignant brain tumours grow rapidly and are likely to spread into other areas of the brain very quickly. When a tumour grows into or creates pressure on part of the brain it may cause that part of the brain to stop functioning the way it should.

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How Using Playtime can Help Childhood Cancer Patients Avoid Anaesthesia


When Children with Cancer have to undergo Radiation Treatment, they often get scared or nervous because they do not have an understanding of the process and the machines involved.

To remedy this, young children are usually given a general anaesthetic, even though the long-term side effects are still unknown.

Instead of relying on anaesthesia, Danielle Crump, BSN, RN, worked to develop the Paediatric Training Program within the Radiation Department of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

This initiative saves time and money while avoiding any risks or complications that might come from administering anaesthesia to a paediatric patient.

 

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