When Your Child with Cancer is Taking Steroids


child-cancer-and-steroidsSteroids occur naturally within our bodies, but can also be made in the laboratory for medical purposes. They help reduce inflammation and control different functions in our bodies such as the immune system or the way the body uses food. One of their key functions is to reduce inflammation/swelling and ease associated symptoms, such as headaches.

When your child has a tumour in their brain it is not only the tumour itself that causes some of the symptoms they may have, but also the swelling surrounding the tumour. This swelling puts pressure on surrounding tissues making the effects of the tumour wider reaching. This pressure can cause symptoms such as headaches, sickness and seizures (fits).

To help reduce the swelling, Children with Cancer may be prescribed steroids such as Prednisone or Dexamethasone as part of their treatment. As steroids are fast-acting drugs this could mean that some of the effects caused by the tumour reduce quite quickly. This does not mean, however, that the size of tumour itself has been reduced.

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Will Trump Sign the Childhood Cancer STAR ACT?


staract1-300x122In an effort to help thousands of children who undergo cancer treatment each year, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Childhood Cancer STAR (Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research) Act.  This bipartisan legislation will advance paediatric cancer research and child-focused cancer treatments, while also improving childhood cancer surveillance, and providing resources for survivors and those impacted by childhood cancer.

Too many young people’s lives have been cut short by cancer.  These kids and their families who’ve battled this disease inspire us to take action.  The Childhood Cancer STAR Act will help young cancer patients and their families get access to potentially life-saving treatments, support survivors, and move us another step closer toward our goal of ending pediatric cancer,” said Senator Reed.

This bipartisan legislation will continue the advances in research, prevention and care for our loved ones and families impacted by childhood cancer,” said Senator Capito. “The Childhood Cancer STAR Act gives parents and patients access to the information they need to make vital decisions about treatment and care post-treatment. This legislation will also give those who understand the unique needs of childhood cancer patients a seat at the table when decisions about cancer care are taking place.”

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World Cancer Day ~ 4th February: “We Can ~ I Can.”


world-cancer-day-2017dEvery year on 4th February,  a truly global event takes place ~ World Cancer Day unites the global population in the fight against cancer in an attempt to prevent millions of deaths each year by raising Awareness and Education about the disease, urging governments and individuals across the world to take action.

Despite recent scientific progress in finding treatments and improving patients’ care, 8.2 million people still die each year from cancer, nearly 50% of them between the age of 30 and 69. This figure is expected to rise to 11.5 million by 2025 and 13 million by 2030.

Low- and middle-income countries are more affected than high income countries – two thirds of global cancer deaths occur in these places – and this trend is predicted to continue in the next decade.

One of the ways to reduce mortality rates is to improve early diagnosis strategies. This is the message that the World Health Organization, working closely with World Cancer Day’ organisers, wants to put forward.

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Cardamom Recipes for Children with Cancer


foodiefriday-wp-logoHey there Fans – it is Foodie Friday again so, following on our post about the health and cancer-fighting benefits of cardomom yesterday, here are some great cardomom recipes that both you and your Child with Cancer are sure to thoroughly enjoy!

Please remember that if there are any specific recipes that you would like for your Child with Cancer (something with their favourite foods) that you think will help them to eat when they are feeling poorly from their cancer treatment, drop us a line on our Contact Us page and we will be happy to research some easy recipes for you.

The same goes for any other information that you would like about Childhood Cancer ~ this blog is for YOU so we always try to post information that you need and/or want.

Have fun trying out the following recipes and let us know what they are like and whether your child enjoyed them.

 

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Cancer Benefits of Cardamom


health-benefits-of-cardamomCardamom is a peppery, citrusy spice that is native to the evergreen forests of India and is commonly used in Indian cuisine, but it has also made its way into Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for mouth ulcers, digestive problems, and even depression.

According to various studies, cardamom also contains cancer-fighting compounds with the potential to kill cancer cells as well as stunt new cancer cell growth. In India, Cardamom was known as the “Queen of spices” to black pepper’s title as the “King of spices”. Also in India, during the 11th century, it was listed as one of the ingredients in the “Five fragrance betel chew” in the Book of Splendour.

Historically, spices have shaped many events throughout the world. Many voyagers, including the legendary Christopher Columbus, explored the seas in search of treasured spices. These valued commodities contribute not only flavours but also serve as colorants and preservatives in a wide variety of cultures.

In Ayurveda (the ancient Indian science of medicine and lifestyle) and Traditional Chinese Medicine, cardamom was believed to be a remedy for teeth and gum infections, throat problems, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of the eyelids, gastrointestinal disorders, disintegrating kidney, and gall bladder stones, and was also used as an antidote for poisons and venoms.

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Helping Your Child with Cancer Cope


cancer-childA cancer diagnosis brings with it not only pain and treatments, but a complete lifestyle change – there are all the appointments, tests, medications, infusions, scans, special diets, and so on to deal with; time in and out of hospital; fatigue, lethargy, boredom and a change in eating habits…

For children things are worse, because they can often not go to school while under treatment due to their impaired immune systems and possibilities of infection; often they can also not even see their friends and need to keep themselves entertained for days, weeks and even months on end. I mean, adult company is OK, but when you are a child you need to play and need other children around…

The sudden move from health to illness and the unwelcome tests and procedures needed to get a diagnosis can be very frightening for a child, and hospital stays can be a scary and overwhelming experience.

It’s very scary for a child to be told their body is not working right, and that they have cancer and it is completely normal for a child or teen to be afraid of new and often painful experiences.

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A Little Reminder of What We Do


goldribbonIt being the beginning of another year, we thought that we would just remind everyone exactly what it is that the Little Fighters Cancer Trust actually does apart from posting on this blog and on our Facebook Page….

The Little Fighters Cancer Trust (LFCT) is a South African Non-Profit Organisation that offers various types of support to Children with Cancer and their Families throughout South Africa. We are the VOICE of Childhood Cancer Awareness and the HANDS of Childhood Cancer Support!

LFCT is committed to providing support in an holistic manner, treating each Child with Cancer and his/her Family as individuals, as we understand and respect the uniqueness of each situation. It is also our mission to preserve the dignity and pride of each individual.

We undertake to promote and advocate National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase the amount of diagnosed Childhood Cancer cases in South Africa. Childhood Cancer Awareness will translate into an increase in earlier diagnosis, which will result in a higher survival rate for Children with Cancer in South Africa.

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Honouring Caleb Tristan van der Westhuizen – ^Forever 5^


Caleb Sept 2015Caleb Tristan van der Westhuizen was a normal, beautiful little curly-haired young lad of 4, whom his parents were very proud of, when he was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in September 2015.

Caleb underwent various treatments for his cancer, including various operations as well as undergoing Chemotherapy and Retinoid Therapy  (Retinoids are chemicals that are related to vitamin A. They are known as differentiating agents because they are thought to help some cancer cells mature into normal cells. In children with high-risk neuroblastoma, treatment with a retinoid called 13-cis-retinoic acid [isotretinoin] reduces the risk of the cancer coming back after high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant.)

Things generally went well for Caleb, with the usual ups and owns that are part of fighting childhood cancer. Unfortunately Caleb relapsed in December 2016, and he was readmitted to hospital for pain-control.

Just before Christmas the family got the devastating news that Caleb was terminal, after which he received Radiation Therapy and Pain Control Treatment.

Unfortunately, Caleb lost his fight with cancer on 16th January 2017 and was laid to rest on Saturday 21st January. Read the rest of this entry

Summer Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe for Children with Cancer


watermelon-gazpacho

Continuing with the current trend of posting delicious recipes for children with cancer on a Friday, here is another great recipe from the table of Culinary wizard and author of Happily Hungry: Smart Recipes for Kids with Cancer, Danielle Cook Navidi .

After using nutritious, home-cooked food to help nurse her son back to health when he was suffering from cancer, Danielle Cook Navidi is giving back by teaching other parents the cooking skills and recipes to give their cancer-stricken kids strength.

Danielle shares her culinary wisdom and first-hand knowledge by creating delicious recipes dedicated to children undergoing cancer treatment and recovery. These nutrient-dense recipes combine great taste with powerful immune-building ingredients designed to satisfy young palates, while helping set the stage to more effectively battle cancer.

Regardless where your kids are on their cancer journey you will find something useful and uplifting within the pages of Danielle’s recipe book. This book is a big culinary hug to young cancer patients and their families.

Here is another great free recipe from Danielle that is sure to tickle your child with cancer’s tastebuds.

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Vulnerability Of Child Cancer Patients To Treatment Toxicities


apoptosis-cycleDespite many successes in treating paediatric cancer, young children remain at high risk for developing severe, long-lasting impairments in their brain, heart, and other vital organs from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In adults, however, these tissues are relatively spared.

This disparity creates a complicated balancing act for doctors – administering doses high enough to have a chance of curing young cancer patients while minimising the risk of long-term cognitive and heart damage.

This “therapeutic window” is particularly narrow in infants and young children compared to adults, whose vital organs are more resilient to intense treatment.

Now, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say they have discovered a potential explanation for why brain and heart tissues in very young children are more sensitive to collateral damage from cancer treatment than older individuals. Reporting in Cancer Cell, they show that the tissues in these still-developing organs are more prone to apoptosis, or programmed cell death, when subjected to toxic stresses like chemotherapy and radiation.

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Is Artificial Turf a Cancer Risk?


crumb-rubber-installation3Did you know that the artificial turf that your children play on contains carcinogenic materials? Many sports clubs and even schools are using artificial turf for soccer fields, hockey fields and the like these days, and this may be costing your children their health.

Amy Griffin, Associate Head Coach of Women’s Soccer at the University of Washington in Seattle, first began to wonder about artificial turf and cancer in 2009. “We had two goalies from the neighbourhood, and they had grown up and gone to college,” Griffin said. “And then they both came down with lymphoma.

While sitting around socialising, talk turned to why the two had both contracted lymphoma, and someone said, “I wonder if it has something to do with the black dots.”

“Black Dots” are the crumb rubber used in today’s artificial turf fields (and on playgrounds). Those fields are designed to be more pliable than AstroTurf because they’re made from longer synthetic grass surrounded by infill made of ground rubber from used tires, usually mixed with sand.

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New Report Defines Impact of Cannabis on Health


cannabis-drug-marijuana-plantA report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – published on 12th January, 2017 – consolidated all evidence published since 1999 regarding the health impacts associated with cannabis and cannabis-derived products, such as marijuana.

In excess of  10,000 scientific abstracts were considered by the committee that carried out the study and wrote the report in order to reach its nearly 100 conclusions.

The growing accessibility of cannabis and acceptance of its use for recreational purposes have raised important public health concerns. Neither the level of therapeutic benefit offered by the drug nor the risks it carries for causing adverse health effects have been rigorously assessed.

For years the landscape of marijuana use has been rapidly shifting as more and more states are legalizing cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions and recreational use,” said Marie McCormick, chair of the committee; the Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health, department of social and behavioral sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass.

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