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Early Deaths from Childhood Cancer Up to 4 X More Common Than Previously Reported


Treatments for childhood cancers have improved to the point that 5-year survival rates are over 80 %.

However, one group has failed to benefit from these improvements, namely children who die so soon after diagnosis that they are not able to receive treatment, or who receive treatment so late in the course of their disease that it is destined to fail.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology explores this challenging population, finding that death within a month of diagnosis is more likely in very young children and those from minority racial and ethnic groups even independent of low socioeconomic status.

The study uses a large national database to find that the rate of deaths within one month of diagnosis has been previously under-reported in clinical trial data, with early deaths from some paediatric cancer subtypes up to four times as common as had been implied by clinical trial reports.

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Gene Therapy: Does it Work?


While Gene Therapy has been around for a few years already, we don’t seem to be hearing much about it being used to treat cancer, especially paediatric cancer, and one cannot help but wonder why…

In most gene therapy studies, a “normal” gene is inserted into the genome to replace an “abnormal,” disease-causing gene. In cancer, some cells become diseased because certain genes have been permanently turned off. Using gene therapy, mutated genes that cause disease could be turned off so that they no longer promote disease, or healthy genes that help prevent disease could be turned on so that they can inhibit the disease.

Other cells may be missing certain genes. Researchers hope that replacing missing or defective genes can help treat certain diseases. For example, a common tumor suppressor gene called p53 normally prevents tumor growth in your body. Several types of cancer have been linked to a missing or inactive p53 gene. If doctors could replace p53 where it’s missing, that might trigger the cancer cells to die.

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Michael Bublé Steps down from Hosting 2017 JUNO AWARDS, to Focus on Son’s Health


For the second time this year, Michael Bublé has withdrawn from a prior commitment in order to “focus on his family” amid his 3-year old son’s cancer battle.

According to a statement issued by Bell Media, the 41-year old entertainer has pulled out of hosting Canada’s biggest music awards show, the Juno Awards, that is scheduled to be held on April 2.

Iconic rocker Bryan Adams and megastar comedian Russell Peters are set to take the stage as co-hosts.

The Little Fighters Cancer Trust joins in the rest of the world in taking its hat off to Michael for doing the right thing and putting his focus on his family and his son’s battle with cancer as we more than most realise that when a  child has cancer the whole family is affected and the one thing that child needs  most is the support of loving parents.

“Our thoughts continue to be with Michael — we respect his ongoing commitment to his family and look forward to working with him again in the future,” the statement reads.

 

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Foodie Friday: Pancakes, Pasta & Pudding


So, it is Friday again – whew, what a week!

A little birdie told me that there are some people who are really enjoying the Foodie Friday posts (although I wouldn’t know it as nobody ever comments 😦 ) so here are some more interesting and healthy recipes for you and your Child with Cancer to try out together.

Today we have another alternative to the usual boring breakfast that is sure to tempt your Little Fighter to eat the most important meal of the day; an easy but tasty pasta, and something sweet for your sweets.

Guaranteed scrumptious and guaranteed to tickle their (and your ) tastebuds!

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Childhood Cancer Survivorship


Getting cancer is something NOBODY wants, and it is even more tragic when a young soul is diagnosed with cancer. Fighting cancer is a battle that leaves many scars, not all of them physical…

Those who have survived cancer are often left with a different appreciation of life, even children who have not yet lived much of theirs.

Survivors can also, however, become very anxious about their health; about whether the cancer will return; about the visits to the doctor for the next how many ever years, and then when the regular visits stop.

Another problem is that unless you have had cancer or have cared for someone who has survived cancer, there is NO WAY you can understand what a cancer Survivor goes through for the rest of their life! Most people seem to think that having cancer is a temporary situation and that once you are through the treatments it means that you are cured and life should just continue as per normal – this is FAR from the truth!

Cancer is in effect a revolving door, and at any moment a scan could land a Survivor right back in the territory of Active Cancer Treatment

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Foodie Friday: Healthy Vegetarian/Vegan Meals


foodiefriday-wp-logoA diagnosis of cancer and subsequent treatment can result in irregular food and fluid intake, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies. There is frequently an increased need for calories and protein while there is usually a decreased appetite.

Chemotherapy, for example, works by killing or disabling cancer cells. Unfortunately, this targets not only the tumour, but some healthy tissues as well, including the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

While some of these drugs produce only mild side effects, others can pack a wallop. The effects of radiation therapy can be similar to those of chemotherapy, but these are usually related to the part of the body that is being treated. This means that radiation to the head, neck, chest, and abdomen can result in a lot of GI distress.

Side Effects That Cancer Patients Experience

  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Open, sore areas in the mouth and/or throat
  • Loss or change of taste perception
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Feeling of fullness after eating or drinking very small portions

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The Impact of the Inequality Gap on Health


incomeWhat good does it do to treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick?”

This is the question Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, said he asks himself repeatedly, during a speech he recently gave at Wits University regarding why health is not simply a matter of access to medical care.

Sir Michael is an expert in health and inequality, and says that as societies around the world become more unequal, the gap between levels of health widens.

Social injustice is the biggest threat to global health and a radical change in society is needed if we really want people to live long healthy lives,” he added

The Professor, who has conducted research on health inequalities in communities across the world, compared a boy growing up in the affluent suburb of Greater Roland Park in Baltimore, United States to one growing up in the Upton Druid Heights neighbourhood in Baltimore’s inner city.

Even though they grew up a mere few kilometres apart, according to Marmot  the boy from   Roland Park can expect to live to the age of 83 whereas the one living in the inner city, will likely die 20 years earlier at the age of 63.

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How To: Boost Your Child with Cancer’s Mood


children-dancing-smallJust the mere word “cancer” is enough to send most people into a fit of depression, and this is no different for a child.

A diagnosis of cancer, together with the treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy, the pain, nausea, hair loss, anaemia, and the constant hospital visits or having to stay indoors and not have friends around or go to school due to an impaired immune system can get anyone down and moody.

Childhood cancer is vile, despicable, wretched, depressing, demoralising, and soul-wrenching, and the best thing that you can do for your Little Fighter is to help them feel better by boosting their mood.

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Foodie Friday: Pasta, Kebabs & Power Bombs


foodiefriday-wp-logoWOW! Can you believe that another week has flown past and it is once again Foodie Friday? We hope that you have all had a great, healthy and fun-filled week and that all our Little Fighters are feeling strong!

As we all know, Children with Cancer often struggle to eat due to problems with their mouths or throats due to their treatment, or because cancer treatment makes one nauseous and takes away the appetite.

Eating well and getting sufficient nutrition, however, is paramount in building up their immune systems and in helping them to maintain their weight and fight the cancer

Here are some more tasty, healthy recipes that we hope that you and your Little Fighter will enjoy making and eating…

 

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Less Use of Radiation Therapy Leads to Decline in Secondary Cancers in Childhood Cancer Survivors


AtomResearch done by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital shows that Childhood Cancer survival rates are on the rise and that children are seeing fewer new tissue growths as well as fewer complications later on. Researchers say that this decline is due to a sharp drop in the use of radiation therapy.

Radiation treatment in paediatric cancers has been cut by nearly half since 1970; the percentage of pediatric cancer patients treated with radiation fell from 77% to 33%. The average radiation dose has also lessened.

Radiation therapy was long seen as the standard treatment for treating various cancers, but in recent years, scientists have learned that the probability of second cancers increases as the radiation dose increases. Radiation kills off the cancerous tissue, but the downside is that it is very difficult to localise the high energy X-rays and they often hit other uninfected tissues, which can cause a second cancer to develop.

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Africa/America Partnership to Fight Childhood Cancer in Africa


cancer in africaA comprehensive initiative called Global HOPE (Haematology-Oncology Paediatric Excellence) has recently been launched in public-private partnerships between American institutions and the governments of Botswana, Uganda and Malawi.

The $100m Paediatric Haematology-Oncology treatment network has been created in order to build long-term capacity to treat and dramatically improve the prognosis of thousands of children with cancer and blood disorders in southern and eastern Africa.

There are currently only 5 paediatric oncologists in Botswana, Malawi and Uganda combined, which is totally inadequate to deal with the scourge of Childhood Cancer.

“We believe in these countries there are more than 11,000 new cases annually of paediatric cancer and 40,000 new cases of serious, life-threatening blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and haemophilia. Because of these staggering numbers, more healthcare providers with special expertise are urgently needed,” said David G. Poplack, M.D., director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and Professor of Pediatric Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Global HOPE will help build capacity in the region to diagnose and care for children with blood disorders and cancer, offering the potential for transformational change in survivorship for these children.

In developing countries, including the United States, approximately 80% of Children with Cancer survive; unfortunately this figure dips markedly in developing countries including in sub-Saharan Africa.

The mortality rate is estimated to be as high as 90% across Africa, mainly due to an inadequate healthcare infrastructure,  and a lack of physicians and other healthcare workers with specific training to treat children with cancer.

The most common Childhood Cancers are blood-related, including leukaemia and lymphoma.

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Ringing Out after Cancer Treatment


the-bellChildren with Cancer can spend weeks, months and even years undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for their cancer.

Cancer is insidious and unforgiving to those children and families who have to endure it. A cancer diagnosis of any kind from leukaemia to a bone tumour, can physically, emotionally and mentally impact the entire family unit in some capacity. The financial strain of cancer treatment can also cripple a family ad place great strain on both the Child with Cancer and the rest of the Family.

For children, enduring this kind of treatment means having to deal with horrible things that children should not have to deal with; things like needle pricks, nausea, vomiting, loss of strength and hair loss. That’s why finishing chemotherapy or radiation treatment is so amazing.

A ringing bell can signify many different things, but in the life of a Cancer Warrior it means an end and a beginning – the end of all those horrific treatments and hospital stays and the beginning of life as a Survivor, a “normal” child who can once again do “normal” things.

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