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What does The RACE for Children Act Mean?


Most paediatric cancer patients are subjected to treatments that are not designed for a child’s developing body.

This is because there has been too little research into Childhood Cancer and too few new medications to treat childhood cancer.

According to the Coalition against Childhood Cancer, a mere 4 % of America’s  National Cancer Institute’s budget is dedicated to paediatric cancer research – it is even less in some other countries.

Parents and advocates say that is not enough when you consider how much life these children stand to lose.

Treatment options for Children with Cancer have been stagnant for decades, with only 3 new drugs developed specifically to treat childhood cancers since 1980, compared to the 190 new treatments that have been approved for adults in the last 20 years alone.

The Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity for Children Act that was signed into U.S. law during August this year aims to change that.

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The Agony of Childhood Brain Cancer


Many years ago it was thought that cancer was an “old person’s disease,” and unfortunately some people still think that it is…

Cancer is not an old person’s disease; it is a disease that strikes at any age and affects everyone, irrespective of gender or race.

Virtually every single person on this planet has been affected by cancer in some way or the other, be it personally, a family member or a friend…

Childhood Cancer is possibly the most devastating for various reasons, including that there is too little awareness around paediatric cancer, and that too little is spent on research into childhood cancer.

Children are treated with the same poisonous drugs that adults are and experience the same if not worse side-effects from the treatment, and lastly, the mortality rates are too high!

Seeing one’s child try to battle a disease over which one has no control and for which there is no cure is the absolute worst thing that any parent can experience, yet tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of parents across the globe have to go through this ordeal every year; watching their child sufffer while they valiantly fight this dreaded disease and too often lose the battle.

 

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CINV Affects Patients Economically & Emotionally


Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is a common — and often costly — problem among patients with cancer.

Chemotherapy is the use of specific drugs, administered by a paediatric oncologist, to destroy cancer cells by preventing the cancer cells from growing and dividing to make more new cells. Cancer cells generally grow and divide much faster than healthy cells; chemotherapy destroys them more quickly than it destroys most healthy cells.

Chemotherapy drugs are very powerful and they cause damage to many growing cells, including some healthy cells. This damage causes the side effects of chemotherapy, which can include Nausea and Vomiting; Diarrhoea; Constipation; Heartburn or Stomach Ache; Sore Mouth or Throat/Mouth Sores; Change in Taste – Foods Have Less Taste or a Bitter Metallic Taste; Hair Loss; Skin Redness; Dry, Itching Skin; Moist Skin; Rashes; Sun Sensitivity; Swelling, Redness, or Pain at The Needle Site Where Chemotherapy Drugs are Given; Bladder Irritation and Infection; Change in Urine Colour & Strong Urine Odour; Nerve Damage; Stress Fractures; Fever; Flu-Like Symptoms; Infection; Anaemia/Fatigue; Blood Clotting Problems (Bleeding); Swelling/Fluid Retention; and Allergic Reaction.

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The Inimitable Dr Audrey Evans, Modern Hero


Dr. Audrey Evans is a world-renowned oncologist whose career has spanned more than 60 years.

As the co-founder of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (1974), the first Ronald McDonald House in the world that led to the creation of Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the co-founder of St. James School (2011), a faith-based middle school for under-resources youth, her efforts have impacted the lives of millions across the world.

Now at the advanced age of 92, her legacy was recently celebrated by the awe-inspiring new digital series, Modern Hero, which features groundbreaking women who are making a difference in their careers and in the world.

Dr Audrey Evans reduced mortality rates by 50% for neuroblastoma patients…she’s helped 7 million families in more than 63 countries across the globe….she’s giving under-resourced youth a chance at a better life…and at 92 she “still has the ability to do something for the benefit of humanity.”

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Kwazulu-Natal Cancer Patients Dying While Waiting For Treatment


Cervical cancer patient Alice Sibiya has waited more than one year to receive treatment.

Four months ago the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) released a scathing report detailing the collapse of cancer services in the province. The document accused the KwaZulu-Natal health department and its MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, of failing patients.

Waiting times for life-saving cancer treatment has grown by almost 30% as KwaZulu-Natal’s cancer services crumble and stall.

According to information revealed by SAHRC chairperson Bongani Majola during a recent provincial health portfolio committee meeting, patients are now waiting up to nine months for treatment.

The average waiting time for treatment was previously seven months.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson for health in KwaZulu-Natal Imran Keeka says he doubts the veracity of the information and alleges the data does not reflect patient backlogs at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital fuelled by a breakdown of treatment machines at Addington Hospital.

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Immunotherapy May Help Stop Cancer Recurrence


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.

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What will CAR T-Cell Therapy for Paediatric ALL Treatment Mean to Africa?


Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy is a form of cancer immunotherapy which seeks to sharpen and strengthen the immune system’s inherent cancer-fighting powers.

CAR T-Cell Therapy was approved in August 2017 ~ the first time that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CAR T-cell therapy for a form of cancer ~ for the treatment of paediatric and young adult patients with B-cell ALL that has relapsed or hasn’t responded to previous treatments.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a type of leukaemia in which a group of white blood cells, called lymphocytes, are affected. Leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children, and about 80% of children with leukaemia have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

CAR T-Cell Therapy involves treating patients with modified versions of their own immune system T cells ­– white blood cells that help protect the body from disease.

Lewis Silverman, MD, Clinical Director of the Hematologic Malignancy Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, said:

It’s a very exciting development in our ability to treat childhood ALL. It offers hope to those that we haven’t been able to treat with conventional therapy. This is a hugely exciting time in childhood leukaemia research”

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Stealing Pain Medication from Cancer Patients the Lowest of the Low


Johnathan William Click, the lead pharmacy technician for Birmingham’s ContinuumRx, has been accused of stealing opioid medication from IV bags intended for cancer patients experiencing excruciating pain. Prosecutors have accused Click of siphoning morphine and hydromorphone from the vials and replacing the drugs with saline or sterile water.

For nearly two months, a patient at New Beacon Hospice in Birmingham, Alabama, would push the button on her intravenous pump, hoping for a dose of medication to ease the excruciating pain caused by her liver cancer, but never got the relief she was seeking.

A nurse made a series of worried calls to ContinuumRx, the pharmacy that supplied IV bags to the hospice. “Something was not right,” the nurse told the pharmacy. “Keep pushing the button”, the pharmacy instructed, before swapping out the patient’s bag at least twice.

Prosecutors say Johnathon William Click, the leader pharmacy technician for ContiuumRx, spent nearly two years stealing opioid drugs that were supposed to go into IV bags for patients in palliative care. He is accused of siphoning morphine and hydromorphone from the pharmacy’s vials and replacing the liquid he took with saline or sterile water.

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Less than 0.1% of S.A. GDP Earmarked for NCD’s


According to the 20th edition of the South African Health Review published by the Health Systems Trust (HST) on Wednesday, South Africa is experiencing an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which imposes a heavy burden on healthcare services, which are already under tremendous strain from HIV and Tuberculosis.

NCDs include diseases like cancers, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes are the leading cause of mortality and disability globally. 80% of NCD deaths reportedly occur in low- and middle-income countries (including South Africa), affecting disproportionately more individuals younger than 60 years than in high-income countries.

According to the report, stronger prevention and community-based programmes, including those involving Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) are required, to “avert the growing burden of NCDs.

 

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Taste Problems While Undergoing Chemotherapy Treatment


A potential side effect of chemotherapy treatment is issues with taste — either food not tasting like anything or a bitter or metallic taste in one’s mouth.

Food for Children with Cancer going through Chemotherapy is important, because they need to keep up their strength up and maintain weight.

Why does this happen, and what can you, as a parent, do to cope?

As chemotherapy kills cancerous cells, it kills other types of cells too, including taste cells. Fortunately this change in taste is usually temporary – the chemotherapy agents in the blood stream get into the saliva, giving it a metallic flavour.

The most important thing that you need to do for your Child with Cancer during and after treatment is to see that they eat sufficient and that what they eat is nutritious, which can be rather difficult when your child has no appetite, may have sores in their mouth from the chemotherapy and when everything tastes different anyway.

 

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