The Impact of the Inequality Gap on Health


incomeWhat good does it do to treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick?”

This is the question Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, said he asks himself repeatedly, during a speech he recently gave at Wits University regarding why health is not simply a matter of access to medical care.

Sir Michael is an expert in health and inequality, and says that as societies around the world become more unequal, the gap between levels of health widens.

Social injustice is the biggest threat to global health and a radical change in society is needed if we really want people to live long healthy lives,” he added

The Professor, who has conducted research on health inequalities in communities across the world, compared a boy growing up in the affluent suburb of Greater Roland Park in Baltimore, United States to one growing up in the Upton Druid Heights neighbourhood in Baltimore’s inner city.

Even though they grew up a mere few kilometres apart, according to Marmot  the boy from   Roland Park can expect to live to the age of 83 whereas the one living in the inner city, will likely die 20 years earlier at the age of 63.

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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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High Cost of Cancer Treatments Impact Medication Adherence


pillsAccording to a recent study conducted by researchers at the American Cancer Society and published in the journal Cancer, the high ever-rising cost of cancer treatment is affecting prescription drug adherence.

The study, which used data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that patients with cancer were far more likely to stop taking their medication or switch it for financial reasons than patients with other diseases.

Rising deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and tiered drug formularies all contribute to the increasing percentage of cancer care cost that patients must now pay for out of pocket. This can affect survivors’ overall wellbeing, lead to poorer treatment choices, have a negative effect on outcomes and cause higher medical expenses down the line, according to the study.

I would encourage patients to discuss their financial concerns with their care providers when making treatment decisions,” said Xuesong Han, Ph.D., strategic director, Health Policy and Healthcare Delivery Research at the American Cancer Society, and author on the study.

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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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Less Use of Radiation Therapy Leads to Decline in Secondary Cancers in Childhood Cancer Survivors


AtomResearch done by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital shows that Childhood Cancer survival rates are on the rise and that children are seeing fewer new tissue growths as well as fewer complications later on. Researchers say that this decline is due to a sharp drop in the use of radiation therapy.

Radiation treatment in paediatric cancers has been cut by nearly half since 1970; the percentage of pediatric cancer patients treated with radiation fell from 77% to 33%. The average radiation dose has also lessened.

Radiation therapy was long seen as the standard treatment for treating various cancers, but in recent years, scientists have learned that the probability of second cancers increases as the radiation dose increases. Radiation kills off the cancerous tissue, but the downside is that it is very difficult to localise the high energy X-rays and they often hit other uninfected tissues, which can cause a second cancer to develop.

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Africa/America Partnership to Fight Childhood Cancer in Africa


cancer in africaA comprehensive initiative called Global HOPE (Haematology-Oncology Paediatric Excellence) has recently been launched in public-private partnerships between American institutions and the governments of Botswana, Uganda and Malawi.

The $100m Paediatric Haematology-Oncology treatment network has been created in order to build long-term capacity to treat and dramatically improve the prognosis of thousands of children with cancer and blood disorders in southern and eastern Africa.

There are currently only 5 paediatric oncologists in Botswana, Malawi and Uganda combined, which is totally inadequate to deal with the scourge of Childhood Cancer.

“We believe in these countries there are more than 11,000 new cases annually of paediatric cancer and 40,000 new cases of serious, life-threatening blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and haemophilia. Because of these staggering numbers, more healthcare providers with special expertise are urgently needed,” said David G. Poplack, M.D., director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and Professor of Pediatric Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Global HOPE will help build capacity in the region to diagnose and care for children with blood disorders and cancer, offering the potential for transformational change in survivorship for these children.

In developing countries, including the United States, approximately 80% of Children with Cancer survive; unfortunately this figure dips markedly in developing countries including in sub-Saharan Africa.

The mortality rate is estimated to be as high as 90% across Africa, mainly due to an inadequate healthcare infrastructure,  and a lack of physicians and other healthcare workers with specific training to treat children with cancer.

The most common Childhood Cancers are blood-related, including leukaemia and lymphoma.

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Ringing Out after Cancer Treatment


the-bellChildren with Cancer can spend weeks, months and even years undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for their cancer.

Cancer is insidious and unforgiving to those children and families who have to endure it. A cancer diagnosis of any kind from leukaemia to a bone tumour, can physically, emotionally and mentally impact the entire family unit in some capacity. The financial strain of cancer treatment can also cripple a family ad place great strain on both the Child with Cancer and the rest of the Family.

For children, enduring this kind of treatment means having to deal with horrible things that children should not have to deal with; things like needle pricks, nausea, vomiting, loss of strength and hair loss. That’s why finishing chemotherapy or radiation treatment is so amazing.

A ringing bell can signify many different things, but in the life of a Cancer Warrior it means an end and a beginning – the end of all those horrific treatments and hospital stays and the beginning of life as a Survivor, a “normal” child who can once again do “normal” things.

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Foodie Friday: Baked Goodie Recipes


foodiefriday-wp-logoGuess what? It is Foodie Friday again and today we decided to share some scrumptious recipes for baked goodies with you. I mean, which child does not love cake and cookies?

Children with cancer often do not have an appetite due to the cancer or the treatments, so getting them to eat anything is difficult. Here are some recipes for cakes and cookies which both you and your child can enjoy, and letting them help you bake is a great way to keep them entertained and is also a wonderful bonding exercise.

What is even better is that you could also use these recipes to either create an additional income for your family, which most households with a child with cancer need, or as a means of fundraising for your favourite Childhood Cancer Charity, the Little Fighters Cancer Trust 😉

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Warning Signs of Paediatric Cancers


awareness_childhood_cancer_boxing_penguinCancers are malignant (malicious) growths or tumours caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division which may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream.

An arbitrarily adopted standard of the ages used if they are childhood cancers, are 0–14 years inclusive, that is, up to 14 years 11.9 months of age.

Paediatric oncology is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children.

Cancer isn’t fair at any age, but perhaps no cancer is more emotionally devastating than those that occur in children. Worldwide, it is estimated that childhood cancer has an incidence of more than 250,000 per year, and a mortality rate of approximately 98,000 per year. Death from Childhood Cancer is second only to death from accidents according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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Childhood Cancers on the Rise in Ghana


my-child-matter-fight-against-childhood-cancer-2Childhood cancer is on the increase in Ghana with only two out of ten children with cancer surviving in the country.

Mr Dennis Ocansey, the Programme Manager of the Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme (NCD) at the Korle-bu Teaching hospital has indicated that childhood cancers have increased in the country over the years.

He said the country has in recent years been recording close to 1,000 childhood cancers annually among children below fifteen years.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Ocansey said the causes of many of these childhood cancers were largely unknown but resulted from the genetic predisposition of some patients, environmental factors such as radiation, pesticides and some drugs which increase the risk of developing cancer.

Common cancers among children nowadays are Lymphomas-cancer of the lymphoid tissues, leukaemia cancer of the blood cells, Retinoblastoma-cancer of the eye, Nephroblastoma-cancer of the kidney, cancers of muscle or bone in different parts of the body as well as brain cancers,” he said.

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Michael Bublé’s Son Cancer-Free!


michael-buble-with-noah-who-has-just-turned-threeMichael Bublé and his wife, Luisana Lopilato’s 3 year old son Noah was diagnosed with a very rare type of liver cancer, which affects only 1 in 1 million children, in November, 2016. The parents immediately sought the best treatment and Noah then underwent a 4-month journey of treatment.

In early February, Noah’s Aunt Daniela Lopilato, a nutritionist, who was also the one who shared the news that Noah’s diagnosis was liver cancer back in November, shared the happy news that Noah is cancer-free on Argentinian daytime TV.

Michael and his family chose to keep Noah’s exact diagnosis private, but it is most likely Paediatric Hepatoblastoma, the most common form of liver cancer affecting children.

Treatment in most cases involves surgery to reduce the size of the tumour with chemotherapy, then surgery to remove the cancerous part of the liver.

The liver is one of the few human organs that can grow back. More chemotherapy post surgery generally ensures that the cancer cannot return.

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Childhood Leukemia Patients with Down Syndrome


Children with Down Syndrome carry an elevated risk of developing Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), the most common paediatric cancer.

Research consistently shows that children with Down Syndrome are more apt to suffer complications from chemotherapy treatment. Some studies have also suggested that children with Down Syndrome ALL may have a higher chance of relapsing.

The medical fraternity has for a long time sought an answer to whether, due to the increased susceptibility to the toxicities of chemotherapy, ALL patients with Down syndrome should receive modified treatment to minimise this risk or be given the same treatment as other children with ALL to minimise the chance for relapse.

A new study from researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, suggests the latter for patients treated on Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ALL Consortium protocols.

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