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Children may not experience the same brain tumour side effects and symptoms as adults.
Because their brains and bodies are still growing, they may experience symptoms and side effects that are unique to their age and stage of development.
Children, adolescents and young adults with brain tumors generally experience various side-effects from brain cancer, including Physical Side Effects, Eating and Nutrition Issues, Changes in Physical Appearance, Cognitive and Emotional Side Effects, as well as Long-Term or Late Effects.
Neurocognitive problems are an unfortunate potential side effect of childhood brain tumours. These can vary widely, and can affect intellectual ability, academic achievement, memory and attention.
Potential problems can be assessed by a pediatric neuro-psychologist who can help determine the types of issues that need to be addressed and their treatments.
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
The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders.
Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body.
One of the important cells involved are white blood cells, also called leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.
Leukocytes are produced or stored in many locations in the body, including the thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.
For this reason, they’re called the lymphoid organs. There are also clumps of lymphoid tissue throughout the body, primarily as lymph nodes, that house the leukocytes.
Some children who have been born without a limb or who have had a limb amputated feel pain in the non-existent body part. This is often called phantom pain. This pain is caused by damaged nerves from the amputated limb that continue to send signals to the brain. These signals are interpreted as pain.
While the pain the child experiences is not caused by an actual injury, the sensations are very real and can include burning or shooting pain, achiness or cramping, or pins-and-needles feelings.
The sensations of phantom pain are very real. Following an amputation, there are still nerves present in the remaining portion of the limb and these nerves send pain signals to the brain and tell the brain that the limb is still present.
Phantom limb pain is a well-recognised pain syndrome which can resolve on its own with time, but because pain can interfere with your child’s quality of life and decrease physical function, there are various treatments available.
The average survival rate for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), the most common type of children’s cancer, has gone from under 20% to 85% – unfortunately this is not the case in South Africa though 😥
Cutting-edge treatments are constantly being developed for even the toughest cases, but once again, these treatments are not available in South Africa!
Children’s cancers are unique, but the lessons learned from the extraordinary success of consecutive clinical trials have paved the way for advances in cancer treatment in general. New scientific breakthroughs are happening extremely quickly in medicine these days, far quicker in actual fact than the ability to develop and fund new treatments. Unfortunately this also means wrestling with uncomfortable questions of fairness in deciding priorities — who will be treated first?
One of the most important developments in Childhood Cancer is the ability to tailor treatment — to figure out who needs powerful doses of chemotherapy and who could do with less. Lighter treatment causes less long-term damage to the rest of the developing body — very important for children who have their whole lives in front of them. In some subgroups of patients with ALL, we’re getting better-than-90% survival rates using minimal therapy. This will allow children to recover more fully, without long-term side-effects and with a normal life expectancy.
Right now, there are two groups of kids with ALL at high risk of dying: those with treatment-resistant disease, and those whose cancer recurs either more than once or after receiving a stem-cell transplant.
Even for these toughest cases though, there is now a promising new treatment: a type of immunotherapy calledCAR-T that harnesses the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells. Doctors remove immune cells, called T cells, from the child’s blood and reprogram them to find and destroy the leukaemia cells by changing the DNA that controls the immune response. Those cells are put back into the child’s bloodstream, where they multiply then track down and kill the cancer cells. (The first Child with Cancer to receive this experimental treatment, a girl who had been destined to die, is alive and well 12 years later.)
As doctors and scientists home in on the toughest cases, treatments will become more “customised” and more expensive. It currently costs in excess of $2 million to save the life of a child sent to the U.S. for the new CAR-T therapy. If this treatment was available in other countries, it would cost far less, and would be far less disruptive to both the Child with Cancer as well as the rest of the family who generally have to move to the US for at least the duration of the treatment.
It is hoped that the role of CAR-T treatment can be expanded to other types of cancer next — for example, brain tumours, which are the second-most-common group of childhood cancers.
The problem is that many medical aids will not cover such exorbitant costs. Also, there’s never going to be enough money to fully fund every emerging treatment and to try “everything” in every case, so pursuing one type of costly treatment means less money for another.
Many medical ethicists, governments, health-care professionals and ultimately everyone in society is grappling with the question of “If it costs $2 million for that treatment for one child but there are far fewer children with leukaemia than there are adults with breast and prostate cancer, and that amount would treat far more adults, What is a fair expense?”
Ultimately, every advance we make in treating any type of cancer could help us to develop treatments for others, and hopefully we will see survival rates continue to rise, allowing the bedside role more and more to encompass hope as well as compassion.
Have you heard about the amazing South African invention “The Wonderbag“?
The Wonderbag is a simple but revolutionary non-electric heat-retention cooker. It continues to cook food that has been brought to the boil by conventional methods for up to 12 hours without the use of additional electricity or fuel. The Wonderbag is also a Coolerbag – it keeps food and beverages cold. Freeze it, bag it, store it, serve it.
The Wonderbag is great for mothers of Children with Cancer because it will free up their time in the kitchen while allowing them to cook nutritious, wholesome food for their family. You can start the food on the stove and then place it in the Wonderbag and go about your business without any worries – when you are ready for dinner it will be ready for you…
The food will taste great because it is slow-cooked – from meaty stews and vegetable curries, to simple rice, beans, pasta, and soups, the Wonderbag cooks food beautifully and thoroughly. Meat is perfectly tender and vegetables retain their flavour and texture.
Each bag comes with a Recipe Booklet and you can browse the Recipes section of the Wonderbag website for loads more fantastic Recipes as well as Tips & Tricks, Cooking Times and Metric Conversions.
LFCT received a donation of one of these awesome Wonderbags in December from Tiger Foods to raffle off to raise funds…
Some cancers are difficult to beat, even with modern drugs. It is extremely difficult to find the right drugs to treat a cancer; cancer cells are particularly good at evading everything that modern medicine throws at them.
Many cancers, including Childhood Cancers are still treated with Radiation Therapy and/or Chemotherapy. but new research shows that one type of chemotherapy actually provides a safe haven for tumour cells, boosting cancer recurrence and growth in the long-run.
A good chemotherapy is meant to stop or slow the growth of a tumour; this is achieved by activating a pathway called programmed cell suicide, or apoptosis. Some cancer types however are resistant to apoptosis so other avenues must be pursued to destroy those tumours.
One alternative is to actually damage the DNA genetic code within the cancer cells to the point where it is beyond repair; the cells then respond by activating a process called cellular senescence.
Christmas is not a happy time for everyone – there are many individuals for whom the Festive Season is very painful as it is the time that they miss those who are gone the most.
For parents who have lost a child, whether to cancer or anything else, this is a really, really, difficult time of the year because Christmas is about the children, after all…
Today we would like to take a moment to send out some love to all parents who have lost a child/children.
While the first Christmas is particularly poignant, each Christmas without your child will bring its own challenges, and each parent has to grieve in his or her own way.
There is not much that anyone can say that will take away your pain, but we here at the Little Fighters Cancer Trust would just like to let you know that we are holding you close in our hearts today and are sending you as much Love & Peace as your heart can hold.
✫ Sending you Angel Blessings ✫
( `\( ). .•°*”˜ ☆¸.•´¯`•.☆..✫ (⁀‵⁀,)
..` /♪\_/¯…………`•.¸¸. . . . . . .✫ ⋎´
…\ \ …
…./ /… ✫ Sprinkling Love, Light & Healing ✫
….\/ …. ✫ Peace, Love & Harmony Your Way ✫
Santa’s elves have been very busy at work collecting lovely toys and other fabulous goodies for our Little Fighters, including some healthy but scrumptious goodies for the snack-packs!
Unfortunately when we began this 2 weeks ago we did not know that the hospitals apparently need 4 weeks’ notice for any visit/event to take place – this effectively meant that we could not do our normal Christmas Elf Delivery at the Gauteng or KZN hospitals this year.
Also, apparently the children mostly go home the last week in November or the first week in December already to spend the holidays with their families.
We begged and pleaded with Red Cross and eventually got permission to do a small Christmas Elf Delivery on Thursday morning for around 50 Children with Cancer in the G1 Paediatric Oncology Ward and the Day Clinic. Some of the presents that have already been collected will be delivered, together with snack-packs and loads of love and hugs, to these children. (We will post photos later in the week).
Dr. Audrey Evans is a world-renowned oncologist whose career has spanned more than 60 years.
As the co-founder of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (1974), the first Ronald McDonald House in the world that led to the creation of Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the co-founder of St. James School (2011), a faith-based middle school for under-resources youth, her efforts have impacted the lives of millions across the world.
Now at the advanced age of 92, her legacy was recently celebrated by the awe-inspiring new digital series, Modern Hero, which features groundbreaking women who are making a difference in their careers and in the world.
Dr Audrey Evans reduced mortality rates by 50% for neuroblastoma patients…she’s helped 7 million families in more than 63 countries across the globe….she’s giving under-resourced youth a chance at a better life…and at 92 she “still has the ability to do something for the benefit of humanity.”