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.
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. Read the rest of this entry
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. Read the rest of this entry
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
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.
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
In 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.”
In a recent study, Anti-PD-1 antitumor immunity is enhanced by local and abrogated by systemic chemotherapy in GBM, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found in experiments on mice with a form of aggressive brain cancer, that localised chemotherapy delivered directly to the brain rather than given systemically may be the best way to keep the immune system intact and strong when immunotherapy is also part of the treatment.
The researchers say their study results, reported in Science Translational Medicine, could directly affect the design of immunotherapy clinical trials and treatment strategies for people with a deadly form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.
“We understand that our research was done in a mouse model and not in humans, but our evidence is strong that systemic chemotherapy alters the immune system in a way that it never fully recovers,” says Michael Lim, M.D., associate professor of neurosurgery and director of brain tumor immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
“With aggressive cancers like glioblastoma, it is important that we don’t handicap the defenses we may need to add alternative treatments, such as immunotherapy, to chemotherapy,” he adds.
The death of a child is an event no parent can ever truly move beyond. Though grief is a lifelong process, for some a personal tragedy such as this can be a springboard to launch an organisation focused on bringing attention to an important cause.
That was the case for Jill and Mazen Kamen, who officially launched the Kamen Brain Tumor Foundation after losing their 19-year-old son in April to brain cancer.
In 2009 he had been diagnosed with a type of rapidly growing brain tumour called a high-grade astrocytoma that, despite aggressive treatment, eventually evolved into a glioblastoma — the highly malignant brain tumor that also took the lives of Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015 and former Sen. Ted Kennedy in 2009.
“The first phase is shock when your child is diagnosed,” said Mazen. “You can’t believe it. You start questioning the why, the where. It’s like someone has hit you with a Mack truck. You have to go through that. But you also have to regroup yourself very quickly, because now you have a long, tedious road ahead. And you really have to do your homework very quickly and efficiently, if you can, to face this.”
According 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.
In 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.