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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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Honouring Aleem Bowman – 👼 Forever 5 👼


Last week we put out a plea for donations to help make a make a last wish come true for young Aleem, a 5-year-old boy with terminal cancer.

It is with overwhelming sadness and aching hearts that today we have to share with you the heartbreaking news that Little Fighter Aleem Bowman earned his Angel Wings at 19H20 last night, 15th October.

Rest in Peace, Aleem ^Forever 5^

Aleem would have flown to Durban with his mom and sister – accompanied by Mandie from the Little Fighters Cancer Trust – this coming Thursday to meet Gambit and the other dolphins at uShaka Marine World…

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Foodie Friday: Citrus Essential Oil Smoothie Recipes


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.

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Foodie Friday


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.

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FOODIE FRIDAY: Nutrition for Children with Brain Cancer


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.

 

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Types of Brain Tumours in Children


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
  • Ependymomas

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Brain Tumours: Did You Know?


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.

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May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month


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

When Your Child with Cancer is Taking Steroids


child-cancer-and-steroidsSteroids occur naturally within our bodies, but can also be made in the laboratory for medical purposes. They help reduce inflammation and control different functions in our bodies such as the immune system or the way the body uses food. One of their key functions is to reduce inflammation/swelling and ease associated symptoms, such as headaches.

When your child has a tumour in their brain it is not only the tumour itself that causes some of the symptoms they may have, but also the swelling surrounding the tumour. This swelling puts pressure on surrounding tissues making the effects of the tumour wider reaching. This pressure can cause symptoms such as headaches, sickness and seizures (fits).

To help reduce the swelling, Children with Cancer may be prescribed steroids such as Prednisone or Dexamethasone as part of their treatment. As steroids are fast-acting drugs this could mean that some of the effects caused by the tumour reduce quite quickly. This does not mean, however, that the size of tumour itself has been reduced.

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Will Trump Sign the Childhood Cancer STAR ACT?


staract1-300x122In 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.”

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