Category Archives: Brain Cancer

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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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.

 

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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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