Blog Archives

Cancer Caregiver Stress, Depression & Burnout


Being a caregiver for a person with cancer takes its toll on one’s health, and even more so when the person with cancer is your child.

Caregivers of Children with Cancer (usually the mother) are faced with far more stress, as they usually have to give up their job, spend endless hours at their child’s bedside in the hospital – sometimes for weeks or even months at a time, make endless trips to doctors, clinics and hospitals, and still try to be there for the rest of the family. Childhood Cancer unfortunately often ends in divorce, which places even more of a burden on the mother and the stress becomes far worse and can often turn into depression or burnout.

While it is natural to want to stay by your sick child’s side and meet the needs of their siblings and other family members – all at once, this is a virtually impossible task, and unless you give both your mind and your body a break once in a while, you could well end up with caregiver-burnout!

When one continuously cares for others while under tremendous stress, one can begin to feel that you’re in over your head and have little control over the situation – this can cause the stress to begin taking a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout.

When you are burned out, it’s tough to do anything, let alone look after your ill child, which is  why taking care of yourself is not a luxury; it is a necessity! There are plenty of things you can do to rein in the stress of caregiving and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in your life.

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Stopping Neuroblastoma’s Blood Supply in its Tracks


Researchers have discovered the mechanism by which a modified natural compound disrupts the formation of tumours’ blood vessel networks in Childhood Cancer Neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the specialised nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues.

Neuroblastoma most commonly occurs in one of the adrenal glands situated in the tummy or in the chest, neck, abdomen, pelvis or the nerve tissue that runs alongside the spinal cord. The adrenal glands are specialised glands that release hormones that help the body respond to stress and maintain blood pressure.

The international study, led by scientists at Children’s Cancer Institute and UNSW, is published in Scientific Reports and paves the way for less toxic treatments for Neuroblastoma, a Childhood Cancer with an average age of diagnosis of just one to two years old.

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HIV & Cancer Fields Collaborate For a Cure


Revolutions in cancer treatment are being tested in HIV in the hopes it will bring the world closer to a cure.

The first-ever anti-HIV drug, AZT, was initially developed to fight cancer but was abandoned in preliminary testing. This breakthrough drug saved lives and offered hope to people with AIDS. Over two decades later, the fields of oncology and HIV are collaborating again in the search for a functional cure for AIDS.

Why HIV cure and cancer?” asked Nobel Laureate Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi at a meeting in Paris last month. Renowned for co-discovering the HI virus in 1983, she said that the two had more in common that one would expect.

At a forum held shortly before the 9th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science in late July Barré-Sinoussi said a collaboration between the two fields held promise towards finding a more sustainable solution to the current option for people living with HIV: daily treatment for life.

Well we know, first of all, some people on long-term treatment develop cancer,” she explained. Secondly, she said that over the past five years there is “more and more data” showing similarities between tumour cells and those latently infected with HIV.

When a person’s antiretroviral treatment (ART) is working to suppress the amount of virus in the blood to below detectable levels (an undetectable viral load) a number of HIV-infected cells persist. These cells, latently infected cells, stop infecting other cells with HIV but they reactivate when a person stops taking ART. A group of latently infected cells is called an HIV reservoir – and it is this that scientists are trying to locate and destroy in the hopes of finding a cure.

 

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✨Thankful Thursday ✨ MORE Blankies & MORE PIZZA


It is ✨Thankful Thursday ✨ and once again we have SO much to be thankful for that our hearts are almost exploding with gratitude 🙏 🙏 🙏

The Little Fighters Cancer Trust is still busy delivering all of the warm blankets that YOU donated for our Little Fighters as well as all those wonderful pizzas that Roman’s Pizza donated for our Little Fighters  as part of their Mandela Day Celebrations thanks to YOUR votes.

Just imagine that you are a child lying in hospital day after day, week after week, and sometimes month after month – sick, in pain, undergoing vicious treatment for a vicious disease, no appetite, and when you can eat it is hospital food…. now imagine suddenly smelling the delicious aroma of PIZZA!!!

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U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Improve Cancer Drugs for Children


Up until now, drug companies have been free to decide whether to pursue treatments for paediatric cancers as part of their work on adult cancers or not, and this has led to a minimal amount of new drugs specifically for paediatric cancers being developed.

An estimated 2,000 children die of cancer annually, and the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975 – there has been a 13% rise in Childhood Cancer in the past 20 years alone.

Despite significant advances against certain pediatric cancers, including Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, there are still some types of cancer for which there are few or no effective treatments.

The truth is that new drug development in pediatric cancer is extremely slow, often lagging way behind adult treatments, and few compounds are designed specifically for children.

The sad truth is that Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year, and that is is not much of a market for drug makers, who rack up an estimated $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs while bringing a novel drug to market.

They won’t have much choice going forward!!

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✨Thankful Thursday ✨ Blankies & PIZZA


It is ✨Thankful Thursday ✨ and once again we have SO much to be thankful for that our hearts are brimming over with gratitude 🙏 🙏 🙏

Team LFCT would firstly like to thank ALL of our WONDERFUL supporters for all your donations – without YOU we could do NONE of this.

It is for this reason that we love to show you all where your donations go, so that you can see the smiles and gratitude with which everything is received. These Little Fighters and their Families generally have little to no resources and depend on what LFCT can do for them to help them get through this incredibly tough time.

Please be assured that even though we can often not show you photos of the children themselves due to hospital privacy policies or due to some other legitimate reason, their beautiful little smiles put a ray of sunshine into our hearts and from ours hopefully to yours! 🌞

 

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Understanding the Impact of Childhood Cancer Rates across Sub-Saharan Africa


Collated Childhood cancer statistics in sub Saharan Africa have been published for the first time as a monograph in the peer reviewed journal ecancermedicalscience, allowing researchers and policymakers a critical new insight into the impact of paediatric cancer across this region.

On the African continent, only South Africa operates a childhood cancer registry on the national level.

This new study brings together data from 16 of the smaller localised registers, which, as members of the African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN), have been evaluated as achieving adequate coverage of their target population. The study has allowed for the collection of this scattered knowledge for the first time and presents it in an accessible format.

The cancers are classified according to the third revision of the International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC-3) and recorded rates in Africa are compared with those in childhood populations in the UK, France, and the USA.

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Can Antioxidant Supplements Prevent Cancer?


Antioxidants are substances that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, or unstable molecules. That damage, called “oxidative stress,” is linked to the kind of damage in DNA mutations that can contribute to the risk of certain cancers, as well as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

In most cases, you can find all the antioxidants you need in a healthy, plant-based diet.

To date, nine randomised controlled clinical trials of dietary antioxidant supplements for cancer prevention have been conducted worldwide to study the effects of antioxidant supplements and cancer. The different studies reached varying conclusions about the efficacy and safety of taking antioxidant supplements to help prevent cancer or taking them during cancer treatment.

Some studies have shown that taking antioxidant supplements – such as vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, and beta-carotene – might help reduce the risk for certain diseases related to oxidative stress, including cancer.

Additional large randomized controlled trials are needed to provide clear scientific evidence about the potential benefits or harms of taking antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment,” the National Cancer Institute (NCI), reports.

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What You Need to Know about Medical Marijuana for Cancer


Herbs and plants were the original treatments for many illnesses and injuries people faced. As such, cannabis or marijuana use dates back centuries. It popped up in Western medicine in the 19th century as a means of relieving pain, inflammation, and spasms.

Today, marijuana use can spark some serious debate, even when considered for medical use only. But regardless of how you feel about its use, more cancer patients are turning to marijuana for a number of reasons.

Marijuana is not legal for use everywhere and researchers have their own concerns about potential side effects. For some patients, however, the benefits can be invaluable as they go through treatment.

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Graft-Versus-Host Disease


Some individuals being treated for certain cancers may undergo a Stem Cell Transplant along with Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy. In Stem Cell Transplantation, healthy stem cells are taken either from themselves or a donor.

An allogeneic transplant is a procedure which involves using blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, cancer-free donor who matches the recipient’s tissue type. Most commonly, donors are a close relative, such as a sibling, but could also be an unrelated donor.

Using a donor for stem cell transplants offers what is called a graft-versus-cancer effect, in which the donor’s stem cells (graft) may attack any cancer cells found in the recipient (host).

Unfortunately, however, a stem cell transplant can also cause a condition called graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD).

GVHD is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition in which the donor cells attack the recipient’s healthy cells, causing a range of medical problems.

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Foodie Friday: The Nutritional Egg


Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition in a handy little round package. These little guys are packed with many nutrients – they’re an excellent source of choline and selenium, and a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorous and riboflavin. In addition, eggs are rich in the essential amino acid, leucine.

Eggs contain zero carbs and no sugar. That means you can eat a well-rounded breakfast during the week without feeling round yourself. Eggs are also naturally gluten free!

Many individuals avoid eating egg yolks due to the bad rap they’ve been given through the years for their cholesterol content, but the latest studies have found that an egg yolk a day has no effect on cholesterol levels, even for people with elevated numbers.

Most of the vitamins and minerals in an egg are found in the yolk. The white of an egg contains about 60% of the egg’s total protein, with the remaining 40% found in the yolk. Additionally, fat and cholesterol in the egg yolk have fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D, E, A, choline, and the carotenoids lutein/zeaxanthin. Read the rest of this entry

New Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Centre Opened at Huntsman Cancer Institute


A new world-class facility dedicated to advancing research in cancer, the Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center, officially opened at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah last month. At the opening, Jon M. Huntsman also announced a commitment from the Huntsman family and Huntsman Cancer Foundation to give $120 million to HCI.

The new centre was opened to expand research in cancers that affect children and families and to accelerate the development of new treatments and cancer prevention strategies.

The 225,000 square-foot expansion doubles HCI’s research capacity. Research enhancements include a biotechnology centre with the latest advanced genetic sequencing and imaging equipment. Scientists and researchers at the centre will leverage the additional space and technology to study the leading disease killer of children, to trace familial cancers, to accelerate the development of new treatments and cancer prevention strategies, and to enhance training programs for the next generation of cancer researchers.

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New Method Means Stem Cell Transplantation is Reaching More Populations


Stem cell transplantation has drastically evolved, not only moving into different types of haematologic malignancies, but also into patient populations of different ethnicities, according to associate director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Tsiporah B. Shore, M.D.

We live in a very multi-ethnic world, and it is more and more vital that all ethnic and racial groups needs can be accommodated.

With the addition of novel approaches such as haplo-cord and haploidentical transplants, an increasing number of patients are able to receive this necessary treatment.

Stem cell transplantation is a very important procedure that should be available for everyone. Looking at the unrelated registry, or even within families, there are very limited donors for many ethnic populations. It is vital that something is done about that so that transplants are available to everyone, even when donors are not available in the registry.

Shore’s centre has pioneered a new method called the haplo-cord transplant and also do cord transplantations and haploidentical transplantations – options which are fairly new and different to what was available five years ago thus enabling the entre to find donors for almost everyone.

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Foodie Friday: Marinades to Make Grilling/Braaing Foods More Healthy


If there is one thing that South Africans love, it is their Braai (BBQ), but with all the scares around eating grilled meat, some are querying whether this is still possible, and a Saffa who cannot braai is totally lost. How are they going to watch rugby now, or just have a nice day with friends around the pool or in the lapa of an evening?

Never fear, help is at hand, fellow Saffas, and you can STILL have your beloved braai – and in a healthy way too! When the scent of your neighbour’s braai tempts you to cook your own food on the grill, consider marinating your meat first.

Carcinogens – substances capable of causing cancer – are produced when meats (animal proteins) are cooked at high temperatures, so grilled meats can certainly increase the levels of carcinogens in the body. Marinating can reduce the formation of one type of potential carcinogen associated with grilling – use an acidic marinade such as vinegar or citrus juice. And no carcinogens are produced with grilled vegetables, so you can grill all the veggies you want.

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Wishlist Wednesday: Mandela Day Activities


Most of you who are on our Facebook Page will know that the Little Fighters Cancer Trust suffered the loss of around R50 000 worth of donations (including blankets for our Get Wrapped Project) due to leakages and flooding caused by the heavy rainstorm we had in the Western Cape last month.

While we are, together with our insurance company, busy resolving that problem, the various other problems at our headquarters, including a lack of sufficient space, means that we once again have to move….

We have fortunately found great new premises just up the road and are  moving on the 15th July – and here is where you come in….

While we usually do our bit for our Little Fighters and their Families on Mandela Day via our Mandela Day Project, this year it is US who need help.

If any of you in the Paarl area are still looking for something to do as your Mandela Day Activity (67 minutes for Mandela), we are in need of your help!

 

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