Category Archives: Brain Cancer

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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Strategies for Preventing & Healing Brain Tumours


The brain is the most important organ in the body because it controls all complex actions including the ability to learn, speak, move, think, and control our emotions. The brain is made up of soft spongy tissue which means that when malignant cell growth occurs, it often invades surrounding healthy brain tissue quickly (brain tumours).

Although there have been many advances in technology and medicine over the decades, conventional therapeutic strategies generally remain unsuccessful and offer brain cancer patients a dismal outlook. Patients who undergo surgery and radiation treatment have an expected survival rate of only nine months. Only 10% of individuals who undergo chemotherapy for a brain tumour have an extended life expectancy.

While it is important to highlight Brain Tumour Awareness this month, focusing mostly on the primary symptoms and medical testing for brain cancer, more attention needs to be paid to  nutrition, toxic exposures, and lifestyle factors and their contribution to the development of brain cancer. Read the rest of this entry

The Beer for Brains Foundation


For many, a brain cancer diagnosis remains a death sentence. The life expectancy of those suffering from gliomas, the most common and most aggressive form of brain tumour, has changed little in 40 years.

On average, patients die within 9-12 months of receiving the diagnosis. Yet the most cruel aspect of this illness is the way it attacks individuals from within – steadily robbing them of their ability to perform basic tasks and making it increasingly difficult for them to interact with loved ones and the world around them.

Brain cancer alters personalities. It impairs mental functions, disrupts speech, paralyses limbs and, ultimately, leaves its victims with little freedom or dignity. It not only takes lives, it drastically reduces quality of life.

The Beer for Brains Foundation is an Arizona-based non-profit organisation of craft-beer lovers, distributors and brewers, who are committed to raising public awareness about brain cancer, Engendering Compassion for its victims and Helping Fund ground-breaking research leading to a cure. Read the rest of this entry

FOODIE FRIDAY: Nutrition 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. Read the rest of this entry

Types of Brain Tumours in Children


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.

More than 60% of brain tumours in children are located in the posterior fossa (the back compartment of the brain). The posterior fossa includes the cerebellum, the brainstem, and the fourth ventricle. Tumours in this area include:

  • Medulloblastomas(also called Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumours, Or Pnets);
  • Cerebellar Astrocytomas;
  • Brainstem Gliomas; and
  • Ependymomas

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Brain Tumours: Did You Know?


Brain tumours result in more deaths of children than any other disease, including other cancers, and the five-year survival rate is under 20%, which is extremely low seeing that the survival rate for other childhood cancers can be up to 80% these days.

There are more than 120 different types of tumour, making brain tumours a notoriously difficult disease to diagnose. Unfortunately, the brain is still one area of the human body that has not been conquered, and this includes brain cancer.

It is a wonder then that brain cancer treatments have not really changed in the last 35 years and brain tumour research is woefully under-funded.

During this year alone, in excess of 7 000 children will be diagnosed with a brain tumour. Brain and central nervous system tumours are the most common cancers among children and death from brain tumour has overtaken death from leukaemia as the leading cause of death in children.

Childhood brain cancer is not the same as adult brain cancer; a child’s brain is still developing, so brain tumours in children generally appear in different areas of the brain than adult tumours and they also act differently to adult tumours. Treatment options for Childhood Brain Cancer vary and are generally influenced by the age of the child.

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May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month


May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month! During the month of May, millions of individuals across the Globe “Go Grey for May” in support of Loved Ones who are or have suffered from brain cancer. Grey is the colour of the Brain Cancer Awareness Ribbon.

Show YOUR support for all our Little Fighters battling Brain Cancer by turning your Facebook pages GREY during the month of May (you will find some covers and profile pics you are welcome to use on our FB Page.)

Few challenges can compare to dealing with the news that a child in your family has a brain tumour. The emotional burden can seem beyond anyone’s ability to cope, and there are very difficult decisions involved in coming to terms with the diagnosis.

Brain cancer survival rates are low and have hardly changed for 30 years, despite significant increases in survival for other cancers. Treatment is challenging because it affects our most vital organ. Brain cancer costs more per person than any other cancer, yet only receives a small fraction of government cancer research funding.

Relative five-year survival for brain cancer has hardly changed for 30 years, increasing less than 2% between the periods of 1984-1988 and 2009-2013. Only two in ten people diagnosed with brain cancer will survive for at least five years. Between 1982 and 2014, brain cancer incidence and mortality trends showed little change. Read the rest of this entry

Are Better Targeted Treatments Possible in Children’s Brain Cancer?


zebrafish-model-cancer-researchAccording to a recent article, MEK Inhibitors Reverse Growth of Embryonal Brain Tumors Derived from Oligoneural Precursor Cells, in the journal Cell Reports, researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have identified an existing group of drugs that appear to reduce or eliminate a particular subgroup of childhood brain cancers while sparing normal brain tissue.

Childhood Brain Cancer affects thousands of children globally every year, and it kills more children than any other cancer. Malignant brain tumours grow rapidly and are likely to spread into other areas of the brain very quickly. Although brain tumours in children are the second most common form of childhood cancer, it is still unknown what the cause of most childhood brain cancers is.

The research was conducted using a new zebrafish animal model system developed by the researchers, which closely resembles an aggressive subtype of paediatric brain tumours.

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Scientists Tackle Lethal Childhood Brain Cancer


dipgIn precision medicine era legacy gifts of patient brain tissue reveal disease mechanisms and new therapeutic approaches.

Sandra Smith, a pastor’s wife and mother of three in DeWitt, Mich. and her son were both diagnosed with cancer during the same week. She with an aggressive form of breast cancer and her son, six-year-old Andrew, with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a fatal childhood brain cancer that typically strikes between the ages of 4-10 and kills most within a year of diagnosis.

In DIPG, the malignant cells entwine with normal brain tissue in a region that controls critical functions such as breathing and heart rate, making it impossible for a surgeon to remove the tumour. Radiation therapy has been proven to be the only treatment that helps, and then only to extend life by a few short months. Andrew outlived the “typical” DIPG patient by surviving just over two years after his diagnosis, passing away at the end of 2009.

DIPG accounts for about 10% of childhood brain and spinal cord tumours. It is the second-most common paediatric brain tumour and the leading cause of cancer death in children. Treatment options and survival rate for DIPG have not changed in 40 years.

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Celebrating Heini – Brain Cancer


heini-sept-16-1September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and once again the Little Fighters Cancer Trust is hard at work sharing everything we can regarding Childhood Cancer and trying to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness by sharing information and Personal Stories with you.

Today we are once again sharing the story of Little Heinrich van Straaten (Heini). We have shared his story before, but we feel that we need to share it again as this Little Fighter is still fighting every day of his life as a result of brain cancer.

The Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to sincerely thank all our Onco Parents that have shared with us in the hope that their stories can help other parents who have children that are ill but are not sure what the problem is, and to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness so that earlier diagnosis can be done.

We will continue to publish more poems and stories by Onco Parents throughout this month as we work hard to bring Childhood Cancer to the fore and spread Childhood Cancer Awareness – all in the effort to inform and educate other parents to the ravages of Childhood Cancer and to remind everyone that

The Best Defence against Childhood Cancer is Awareness and Early Diagnosis

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Best Nutrition for Children with Brain Cancer


Quick-Diets-3-Weight-Loss-Super-Foods-289x300It 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

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

Raman Spectroscopy Probe Could Improve Outcomes In Brain Cancer Surgery


 Imaging technique tells tumor tissue from normal tissue, could be used in operating room for real-time guidance of surgery

Imaging technique tells tumour tissue from normal tissue, could be used in operating room for real-time guidance of surgery

Gliomas represent 30% of all brain tumours, and 80% of them are malignant. Brain tumours are the leading cause of death in children under the age of 20.

One of the big problems with brain tumours is that a surgeon can never really be sure that they have managed to remove all the cancerous cells, which is why brain tumours often recur, and when they come back they are normally very virulent.

While traditional imaging technology such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can identify solid tumours easily, they often cannot detect cancerous cells that have invaded healthy tissue on the periphery of the tumour.

Scientists from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, McGill University, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), and Polytechnique Montréal have developed a new intraoperative probing technique that could increase survival odds for patients with brain cancer.

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Doctor Improves Cancer Teen’s Health with Game-Changing Approach


Physican-Spotlight-Santosh-Kesari-MD-PhDA local brain cancer specialist believes more lives could be saved if doctors took a closer look at individual tumours, which is the game-changing approach that saved one teen in Agoura Hills.

The first time 17-year-old Nicole Saldivar knew something was wrong was when she started having vision and balance problems. An optometrist detected something unusual.

She saw something behind her eyeball,” said Alfredo Saldivar, her father. “It was, like, bleeding and stuff so we took her to the hospital right away.”

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New Drug May Overcome Treatment Resistance in Childhood Neuroblastoma


cancerPediatric oncologists from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have reported their latest results in devising new treatments for stubbornly deadly forms of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

Building on their experience in treating some refractory subtypes of neuroblastoma with the anti-cancer drug crizotinib, the researchers have identified a powerful new drug with “unparalleled” strength against forms of the cancer that resist crizotinib.

Our preclinical results provide a strong rationale for fast-tracking this drug into clinical trials in children with neuroblastoma,” said study leader Yael P. Mossé, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We expect to begin a clinical trial early this year.”

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