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.
Jennifer Kranz was diagnosed with an especially aggressive form of a deadly childhood brain tumour, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), on her 6th birthday in 2013, and died less than four months after being diagnosed.
Jennifer’s parents heard about the work of Stanford paediatric neuro-oncologist Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, who studies donated DIPG tumour tissue to understand how its biology might be targeted with new treatments during Jennifer’s illness, and during their final appointment at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the Kranzes asked if they could donate their daughter’s tumour for this research after her death.
“They said ‘Yes, here is the paperwork,’ and we signed it,” Libby said. Then she realized the donation form asked only for consent to study the tumour on Jennifer’s brainstem, making no mention of the metastases that had spread to the frontal lobe of her brain and down her spine.
“But we want to donate all of it,” Libby, Jennifer’s mom told Sonia Partap, MD, Jennifer’s oncologist. The Stanford team made the arrangements, and Libby also asked Monje to try to figure out how Jennifer’s tumour had spread so fast.
While many types of cancers have had improved survival outcomes over recent years due to new drugs and other clinical innovations, there are certain cancers that have not progressed appreciably in their survival rates or in developing new methodologies and drug protocols for decades.
Unfortunately, these cancers primarily affect children and young adults. Since the number of patients diagnosed with these deadly diseases annually is small compared to other types of cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer, they are treated as “orphan” diseases which translate into less emphasis by the drug companies and medical establishment in finding treatments and cures for these forms of cancer.
It is therefore up to dedicated researchers and grassroots support groups to “pick up the slack” and help those children afflicted with these deadly diseases by finding new drug protocols and techniques to stop the cancers from metastasising at worst or to stop the cancer cells from developing at best.
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.
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
Following on yesterday’s post Herbal Essential Oils Proven to Kill Cancer Cells and last week’s post, High Dose Vitamin C to Improve Cancer Treatment Outcomes Passes Human Safety Trial, today we are sharing some great smoothie recipes using citrus essential oils.
Smoothies are always good for Children with Cancer as it is one way that they can get the required nutrition, especially when suffering from sore mouths or are struggling to swallow as a result of their cancer treatments.
Many essential oils can also be used in recipes in place of the fruit, seed, or plant the essential oil is derived from, and citrus essential oils such as lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit can be delicious substitutes for the juice and/or zest called for in a recipe.
Having essential oils on hand is always a good idea as they contain loads of goodness in a small bottle and one only needs to use a tiny bit at a time – 1 drop of citrus essential oil can generally substitute for 1 teaspoon of zest or 2 tablespoons of juice. If your recipe calls for the zest of the entire fruit, this works out to between 7-15 drops of its essential oil counterpart.
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
Once again it is foodie Friday, and we are bringing you some great, nutritious recipes for your Child with Cancer that the whole family can enjoy.
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.
According to a new study from The Ohio State University, while many cancers are more common among those with diabetes, cancerous brain tumours called gliomas are less common among those with elevated blood sugar and diabetes.
Glioma is one of the most common types of cancerous tumours originating in the brain. It begins in the cells that surround nerve cells and help them function.
The discovery builds on previous Ohio State research showing that high blood sugar appears to reduce a person’s risk of a noncancerous brain tumour called meningioma. Both studies were led by Judith Schwartzbaum, an associate professor of epidemiology and a researcher in Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. The new glioma study appears in the journal Scientific Reports. Read the rest of this entry
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.