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Childhood Cancer ~ Part V (iv): Immunotherapy


In Part 1 of this series we explained that this series of articles is not meant to be medical advice, but a guide that may help you as a parent of a newly-diagnosed child with cancer cope just a bit better. Information is knowledge, and never more so than when you are dealing with childhood cancer!

These articles are meant to help you be the key part of your child’s treatment that you will need to be. Take what works for you according to your situation and your child’s temperament, personality, fears, strengths, and how they deal with adversity, and leave what does not pertain to your situation.

Part 5 will deal with Different Types of Treatment and Possible Side-Effects of that treatment. As this is quite a long section, I will split it into 5(i) Surgery 5(ii) Chemotherapy 5(iii) Radiation Therapy 5(iv) Immunotherapy and 5(v) Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatment (CAM) is very involved and will contain a lot of information, so that will be dealt with separately in Part 6 of this series of articles.

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Can Berries Help Fight Cancer?


Most of us know that fruit is good for us, and most of us even know that various berries contain certain compounds that are extra healthy, but could berries really help fight cancer?

Speak to any “health-nut” and they will say definitely, berries are the way to go for everything health-wise but it is not that clear-cut as to whether berries are as beneficial in combating cancer as one might think.

While nobody can dispute the fact that berries are extremely healthy, when it comes to cancer studies, some laboratory animal studies have offered hope, while observational studies in humans have not been so encouraging.

Let’s face it, a lovely colourful bowl full of berries is very pleasing to the eye, and to the palate too, and this is partially due to their pigments, or anthocyanins, which are particularly prevalent in blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackcurrants.

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The Importance of the Immune System


The Immune System

The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders.

Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.

The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body.

One of the important cells involved are white blood cells, also called leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.

Leukocytes are produced or stored in many locations in the body, including the thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.

For this reason, they’re called the lymphoid organs. There are also clumps of lymphoid tissue throughout the body, primarily as lymph nodes, that house the leukocytes.

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Cancer drug combination ‘shrinks 60% of melanomas’


Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, kills more than 2,000 people a year in Britain

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, kills more than 2,000 people a year in Britain

A pair of cancer drugs can shrink tumours in nearly 60% of people with advanced melanoma, a new trial has suggested.

An international trial on 945 patients found treatment with ipilimumab and nivolumab stopped the cancer advancing for nearly a year in 58% of cases.

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Childhood Cancer ~ A General Guide for Parents Part V (iv): Immunotherapy


Inspirational-quote-about-the-life-of-a-cancer-patient

In Part 1 of this series we explained that this series of articles is not meant to be medical advice, but a guide that may help you as a parent of a newly-diagnosed child with cancer cope just a bit better. Information is knowledge, and never more so than when you are dealing with childhood cancer!

These articles are meant to help you be the key part of your child’s treatment that you will need to be. Take what works for you according to your situation and your child’s temperament, personality, fears, strengths, and how they deal with adversity, and leave what does not pertain to your situation.

Part 5 will deal with Different Types of Treatment and Possible Side-Effects of that treatment. As this is quite a long section, I will split it into 5(i) Surgery 5(ii) Chemotherapy 5(iii) Radiation Therapy 5(iv) Immunotherapy and 5(v) Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatment (CAM) is very involved and will contain a lot of information, so that will be dealt with separately in Part 6 of this series of articles.

Read the rest of this entry

Donations Needed of and for FOOD


eat_well_plate

Most people do not realise the amount of pressure, stress and strain that a child diagnosed with cancer puts on the whole family… a diagnosis of cancer does not just mean hospital visits, an operation or medication; it means a complete lifestyle change.

Cancer is not a disease that picks and chooses; it can strike anyone at any time, and it DOES!

I would like you to just close your eyes for a moment and imagine the following:

You are the parent of 3 young children, and are just about managing to pay the rent, school fees, feed and clothe and carve out a meagre living for your family with both you and your spouse working… as is the case with many families in South Africa….

One of your children gets ill and just will not get better no matter what the doctor tries, then some tests are done and you get the news; your baby has cancer…

Your first thoughts are that you must do everything possible to get your child well, and so the journey with cancer begins….

There are the many trips to the doctor and then to the hospital oncology ward; this entails you travelling far away from your home for days, sometimes weeks at a time, as you need to stay with your child during treatment and there are not that many oncology wards in the country…. you cannot do this and still continue working because your boss will not allow you to be off work that much, and anyway, even when you are at work you are too tired from nursing your child to actually do any work…..

Now your happy little family of 5 suddenly only has one parent bringing in an income, but the rent must still be paid, school fees and uniforms must still be paid, electricity must still be paid, everything must still be paid… and you must still all eat…..

In the beginning the family and friends help out as much as they can, but they are also struggling and the help soon becomes less and less…. unfortunately cancer is not a disease that can be cured in a few weeks…

You sell whatever you can, but still cannot make it because you now also have transport and accommodation costs near the hospital, medications and other cancer-related costs to cover… and you really do not have the money to afford the nutrition that your Little Fighter with cancer needs to help heal the cancer and rebuild the immune system….

WHAT DO YOU DO??

Can you now understand a bit better what a diagnosis of childhood cancer means to a family? Can you understand the stress that this causes? Can you help with food donations or monetary donations? Can you NOT??

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Cancer Patients Undergoing Treatment are High Risk for Infections


The Immune System

The Immune System

The immune system is an intricate combination of various organs distributed throughout the body. It helps the body to protect itself against invasion by germs, diseases and infections (see pic above).

When a germ enters the body, the white blood cells (lymphocytes) are triggered to attack it. White blood cells constantly move throughout the body via the immune system.

White blood cells consist of two types; B cells and T cells. Both types produce antibodies that destroy viruses and bacteria.

There is also a third type; the large phagocytes which surrounds the microbes that are invading the body, and swallows them. When the immune system is compromised, germs can easily enter the body and attack it.

Phagocyte Swallowing Bacteria

Phagocyte Swallowing Bacteria

Infections caused by microorganisms or germs that enter the body are a high risk for children with cancer that are undergoing treatment. The main types of germs that enter the body and multiply, causing illness or more harm to the body are viruses, protozoa (some of which act as parasites), bacteria, and fungal organisms.

virus-germs-set2-12797939Infections in those with cancer or who are undergoing treatment for cancer can be far more serious than the average individual, and can also be harder to treat. Those most at risk for infections are patients who have undergone surgery such as a bone marrow transplant or are receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
This is why hospital wards in which these children stay while receiving treatments are highly sterile and visitors are kept to an absolute minimum.

 

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