Brain tumours are hard to treat. But even this is a harrowing understatement for some forms of the disease.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is one such example. These rare brain tumours almost exclusively affect children, and they’re invariably fatal.
“Almost all children with DIPG sadly die within a couple of years of diagnosis,” says Professor Chris Jones from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, a Cancer Research UK-funded expert on the disease.
“There aren’t any effective treatments.”
One of the main reasons that the outlook for DIPG is so poor is down to where it grows in the brain. These tumours start in the brainstem, which lies at the base of the brain and hooks up the spinal cord with deeper brain regions. This crucial piece of machinery controls many of the body’s vital processes, such as breathing and our heart beat.
That means surgery – a cornerstone treatment for many cancers – is out of the question. Drugs are also notoriously ineffective for brain tumours, because most are shut out by the protective blood brain barrier.
New research showcases an innovative method of delivering vaccines straight to our white blood cells, strengthening the immune system against cancer and serious infections.
Immunotherapy, which is a widely used form of treatment against cancer, boosts the body’s immune system in the fight against tumors.
Immunotherapy works primarily with T cells, which are a type of white blood cell, or lymphocyte.Largely, our immune systems rely on B lymphocytes, which are active in a variety of infections, and T lymphocytes which must be activated when combating cancer or more serious infections such as tuberculosis.
What do you do when you receive the shocking and unwelcome news that your child has cancer? What do you need? How do you handle it?
What do you do or say when the child of a friend has been diagnosed with cancer? How do you support them best?
What do you say and what should you never, never, EVER say to the parent of a child with cancer?
It is difficult to know what to say even to an adult who has been diagnosed with cancer, let alone to a child or the parent of a child with cancer…
The following was written by the mother of a child with cancer to let everyone know how she felt and what is cool and what is not cool to say to someone whose child has cancer… we hope that it will be of some help to those who have just heard that a friend or family member’s child has just been diagnosed with cancer and the family is about to face the battle of their lives….
Children may not experience the same brain tumour side effects and symptoms as adults.
Because their brains and bodies are still growing, they may experience symptoms and side effects that are unique to their age and stage of development.
Children, adolescents and young adults with brain tumors generally experience various side-effects from brain cancer, including Physical Side Effects, Eating and Nutrition Issues, Changes in Physical Appearance, Cognitive and Emotional Side Effects, as well as Long-Term or Late Effects.
Neurocognitive problems are an unfortunate potential side effect of childhood brain tumours. These can vary widely, and can affect intellectual ability, academic achievement, memory and attention.
Potential problems can be assessed by a pediatric neuro-psychologist who can help determine the types of issues that need to be addressed and their treatments.
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.
During the diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumour, your child may be asking, “When can I go back to school?”
Going back to school after months of treatment can be a cause for celebration.
Children and young adults gain a sense of accomplishment and peer support from school, and long absences and changes in learning abilities can interrupt this positive interaction.
In addition, returning to school is a process that needs care, attention and support by you as a parent, and also by the child’s teachers, school social worker and principal.
Changes in appearance and cognitive abilities can affect self-esteem, create depression and anxiety and lead to frustration. So, although it’s important to return to school, it’s also critical to be aware of what your child may experience and ways you can help.
Brain tumours are the most common solid tumour in children under the age of 15.
When discovered early enough, brain tumours are usually treatable. Many that are slow-growing are cured with surgery alone. Other types that are faster-growing might need additional treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, or both.
Brain tumours are graded on a scale of 1 to 4, based on how malignant, or cancerous, they are – that is, how abnormal their cells appear under a microscope.
A grade of 1 is the least malignant, and 4 is the most malignant.
A tumour may contain cells of different grades, but it is classified by its highest-grade cells.
The purpose of the brain tumour grading system is to indicate the tumour’s likely growth rate and how likely it is to spread within the brain– information used in predicting outcomes and treatment planning.
Brain tumours are graded and classified by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Grades are often assigned to gliomas, which are tumours that develop in the supporting glial cells of the brain or spine. Gliomas make up about 30% of all brain and central nervous system tumours, and about 80% of all malignant brain tumours.
The most common malignant brain tumours are glioblastomas.
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.
The majority of childhood cancers are treated by combined modality therapy, including surgery, radiotherapy, and antineoplastic schedules commonly providing a
variety of side effects, which may lead a child into a state of nutritional deprivation.
Each of these treatment modalities may produce injuries to major organ systems (liver and pancreas), and a combination of therapies could result in a synergism of adverse effects.
Multimodality therapies combined with the effects of the tumour itself affect nutritional status and damage rapidly growing cells, e.g., in the gastrointestinal tract, causing serious and undesirable symptoms. Read the rest of this entry
Good Morning Families
A new day a new week and a renewed request for donations of new shoes and clothes for our Barefoot/Snug Project please.
We have so far received a few financial donations from schools and nothing else 😥
THIS IS NOW URGENT!!!
It is once again that time of the year when we ask you to go barefoot for a day so that our Children with Cancer do not have to!
Barefoot for a Day is an Annual Project that LFCT started in 2013, and every year we ask you to join us in collecting/donating shoes for our Little Fighters in hospital, at home and in Places of Safety.
This year we are combining our Barefoot for a Day project with our Snug as a Bug Project into one big project this year. That way we can make our deliveries to the hospital wards, day clinics and to our Little Fighters and their siblings at home before the chill of winter sets in, thereby avoiding any between-season or change-of-season sniffles, which are very dangerous for Children with Cancer with their impaired immune systems.
WE URGENTLY Need YOU To Donate/Collect NEW Shoes & NEW Warm Winter Clothing for our Little Fighters.
Get your Friends involved, get your Family involved, get your Work involved, get your School involved – just think how many people you know…. if only a few of them donate one item of clothing or one pair of shoes, or the financial equivalent, we will have MORE than enough for ALL our Little Fighters.
💞 SHARE THE LOVE 💞
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!