Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have evidence that common genetic variations can help to identify paediatric cancer survivors who are at increased risk for developing breast cancer while relatively young. The findings were published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
The research focused on the combined effect of 170 common genetic variations that individually confer a modest increased risk of breast cancer, and showed for the first time that, together, they can leave female paediatric cancer survivors at as much as double the increased risk of breast cancer compared to average survivors. The risk is greatest for survivors younger than 45.
“Female survivors of childhood cancer have among the highest rates of breast cancer of any group,” said lead author Zhaoming Wang, Ph.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control and the Department of Computational Biology. That risk has mainly been attributed to the late effects of pediatric cancer treatment, particularly chest irradiation, certain chemotherapy exposures, or the presence of rare mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes.
Over the course of young Dimas Lamp’s nine years of life, he’s gone through some pretty tough times.
Dimas was diagnosed with brain cancer on March 24th, 2017. Dimas had to undergo numerous MRIs, a spinal tap, x-rays, and two brain surgeries.
Dimas was not about to let brain cancer get the better of him though, and this past Saturday at the 10th annual Freedom’s Run, Dimas ran with a purpose: spreading awareness of childhood cancer. He finished with a time of 41 minutes, 54 seconds, proudly crossed the finish line after what he thought was a hard race, especially the hills.
While he didn’t train specifically for Freedom’s Run, Dimas, who is from Shepherdstown, used the local race as preparation for the Every Child 5K on Oct. 20 at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C.
Dimas is part of the Brain Tumor Trouncers team, and every dollar raised by his team will benefit the neuro-oncology discovery fund, helping brain tumour research at the Children’s National Hospital.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are in excess of 15 million cancer survivors, in the US, of which approximately 419,000 were under 20 years of age when first diagnosed with cancer.
These figures are proof that medical advances in treating cancer are allowing people to live longer, but with this comes a warning that many of these treatments can lead to future health troubles, including second cancers, heart problems, infertility and fatigue.
A recent study published in the journal Cancer found that a large percentage of childhood cancer survivors are not sufficiently concerned about their future health risks.
“The lack of concern is significant because some survivors may not engage in risk-reduction activities, such as recommended screening tests and healthy behaviours,” according to Todd Gibson, Ph.D., assistant member of the Epidemiology and Cancer Control Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and author of the study.
Cancer survivors have an interesting relationship with these two words. As bookends to the cancer experience, their implications and impact are crucial to understanding the psychology of a life-threatening illness.
Even the most stoic among us must have at some point allowed the question “Why me?” to cross his or her lips or mind. Not only is it normal to question the arrival of such a traumatic event, it is the reflexive response of a mind honed for survival.
No matter what kind of cancer you’re diagnosed with, coping with its emotional toll can continue long after active treatments are over. The aftermath can lead to a tangle of complex feelings. For those who enter the world of cancer survivorship, guilt is often one of those emotions.
I personally also battle with Survivor’s Guilt, as I have recently passed the 21 years in remission mark, and even though I live with the after/late effects every day (which only those closest to me know about), I still count myself very lucky because I Survived, and when one of our Little Fighters is suffering or gets their angel wings it hits me extra-hard…
The only way that I can “justify” my survival or make myself feel a bit better is by telling myself that THIS is why I survived Stage IV Urethral Carcinoma – to serve our Little Fighters and their Families…
Symptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.
Around 70% of cancer survivors report difficulties with memory and concentration after undergoing chemotherapy – this is conversationally referred to as “Chemobrain,” which is described as a mental clouding or fogginess, during and after cancer treatment.
Chemobrain refers to the cognitive impairment that can occur after cancer treatment. It’s not limited to people who undergo chemotherapy (surgery and radiation can also contribute), but it’s more noticeable if one has undergone chemotherapy.
Doctors used to dismiss patients who complained of brain fog after cancer treatment. It’s still unclear exactly how many patients among the 15-million-plus cancer survivors are affected.
Cancer is Not a Singular Experience, It’s Plural!
Whether it is adult cancer or Childhood Cancer, no matter how much it feels as if we are going through it alone, nothing could be further from the truth!
When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, it doesn’t only affect that specific individual, it affects many, and this is never truer than when it is a child that has been diagnosed with cancer.
The child is not the only one going through everything that this horrible disease causes – the parents, siblings, other family members and friends of the child and parents also experience it.
This article was written by JANE BIEHL, PH.D. who has been a cancer survivor since 2010.
While this is written by an adult about adult cancer, it is just as pertinent to those who suffer from Childhood Cancer and also their Families who go through tremendous stress…
We deal with parents of Children with Cancer daily, and we see the fear, the doubt, the strength, the helplessness, the determination, the sadness, and all the other emotions that they experience throughout the months and years that their child fights this beast Cancer.
These Onco Parents are strong, and the fortitude that our Little Fighters display is also staggering, but one cannot hide or push down the emotions forever….
Parents and Children with Cancer need to allow themselves to express their emotions when they get too much or they stand that chance of being totally overwhelmed with a disease that devastates everything in its path!
According to a recent study that appeared in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, survivors of Childhood Cancer are more than twice as likely as the general population to have high blood pressure (hypertension) as adults.
Improvements in treatment have dramatically increased survival rates from paediatric cancers, with about 83% of children surviving at least five years and many becoming long-term survivors.
However, many suffer long-term side effects. “High blood pressure is an important modifiable risk factor that increases the risk of heart problems in everyone. Research has shown that high blood pressure can have an even greater negative impact on survivors of childhood cancer who were treated with cardiotoxic therapies such as anthracyclines or chest radiation,” said author Todd M. Gibson from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Cancer can never really be “cured” – one just goes into “remission” because the cancer can come back at any time, and when it does it is generally a far worse strain.
Cancer Survivors live their lives knowing that they have this “time-bomb” inside of them that may go off again at any time, and that there is absolutely nothing that they can do about it – one just lives with the constant fear of recurrence.
New research by Mayo Clinic’s Tim Kottke and his team, which was recently published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, may hold some hope though.
The new research was a collaborative effort among scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, and the University of Surrey in Guildford — all of which are in the United Kingdom — and researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Ryan Hamner is a four-time survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, a musician and a writer. In 2011, he wrote and recorded, “Where Hope Lives” for the American Cancer Society and the song for survivors, “Survivors Survive” used in 2015 for #WorldCancerDay.
Currently, he operates his website for those affected by cancer, 2surviveonline.com and drinks a ridiculous amount of coffee per day.
Ryan wrote the following interesting article recently about How food can trigger memories and emotions.
Food, how it tastes and trying everything possible to eat nutritionally whilst undergoing cancer treatments is an important subject for anyone who has gone through the fight with cancer, so we thought we would share his post with you….