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.
The majority of childhood cancers are treated by combined modality therapy, including surgery, radiotherapy, and antineoplastic schedules commonly providing a
variety of side effects, which may lead a child into a state of nutritional deprivation.
Each of these treatment modalities may produce injuries to major organ systems (liver and pancreas), and a combination of therapies could result in a synergism of adverse effects.
Multimodality therapies combined with the effects of the tumour itself affect nutritional status and damage rapidly growing cells, e.g., in the gastrointestinal tract, causing serious and undesirable symptoms. Read the rest of this entry
Christmas in South Africa, as in the rest of the Southern Hemisphere is a unique and splendid thing.
While most Christmas Carols, adverts, cards, recipes, etc. are geared towards a winter Christmas, and most others think of chestnuts roasting over an open fire at this time of the year, those of us Down South are thinking about pools, beaches and barbecues, aka BRAAIS in South Africa!
It is already rather intolerably hot and the last thing anyone wants to think about is slaving over a hot stove or eating hot, heavy Christmas food and baked desserts.
We will, therefore, over the next two weeks, be bringing you some lovely and slightly different summery recipes – different methods of preparing and presenting the traditional chicken, turkey and lamb, and some awesome cold side-dishes that will go well with either a braai or baked, grilled meat done in the oven.
With Christmas around the corner we are all looking for some great recipes for our families, and that includes recipes that Children with Cancer will enjoy, but what about those of us who are vegetarian?
Children with Cancer especially, need to eat as many veggies as possible as they need them to build up their immmune systems which are impaired due to the cancer and the chemotherapy and/ radiation therapy treatments.
Cooking for a vegetarian can be, but need not be, either expensive or boring. Today we bring you some great vegetarian recipes (including a gluten free tabouli).
Pasta is also a great meal or snack for a Child with Cancer because it is soft and easy to swallow, and there are so many different pastas and so many ways in which to prepare it…
Pasta is a perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals: pasta is generally eaten with nutrient-dense food partners, such as fibre-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed cheeses, poultry and lean meats.
Another great reason to use pasta in conjunction with meat, fish, veggies or even just flavoured with herbs, is that most past dishes taste just as nice the next day (or even two days later) and many of them can be eaten either hot or cold.
Anorexia is a common symptom in patients with cancer, which can lead to poor tolerance of treatment and can contribute to cachexia in extreme cases. … Currently, there are no instruments that measure common concerns specifically associated with anorexia and cachexia in children with cancer.
By some estimates, nearly one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to a wasting syndrome called cachexia that can be devastating for patients and their families.
Characterised by a dramatic loss of skeletal muscle mass and often accompanied by substantial weight loss, cachexia (pronounced kuh-KEK-see-uh) is a form of metabolic mutiny in which the body overzealously breaks down skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, which stores fat. Patients suffering from cachexia are often so frail and weak that walking can be a Herculean task.
Today we thought we would continue the “Colourful Foods” or “Eat the Rainbow” vibe that we started yesterday, seeing that it is Friday… nearly weekend… and we want to have a little fun… and we like unicorns 🦄
Smoothies are great “go-to” nutritional drinks for Children with Cancer who are having difficulty eating due to their cancer or as a side-effect of their cancer treatments.
Smoothies can generally be more easily tolerated and are one way to ensure that your Child with Cancer is getting the vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals etc. that they need to boost their immune system and help them fight their cancer.
Smoothies are also a great way to get children to “drink their veggies” and the best part of it all is that they will not even realise that those great drinks actually contain veggies because they go down so smoothly 😉
Rosehip is part of the fruit that grows on the blossom of a wild rose called Rosa Canina. This rose grows mostly in Europe and parts of Africa and Asia – the plant grows up to ten feet tall and bears a white, very fragrant flower. Once the flower has bloomed, and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a wide variety of preparations.
Rosehips are high in beneficial micronutrients and phytonutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, E and K, and flavonoids. Rosehips contain as much as 20 x more vitamin C than oranges; a single tablespoon of rosehip pulp gives an adult more than the recommended daily allowance of 60 mg of Vitamin C.
Vitamin A is also beneficial to the immune system. It can help to prevent infections from both bacteria and viruses and fight off any infections that do occur.
Rosehips are often thought of as a great cancer preventative because they have carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, leucoanthocyanins, and catechins.
Rosehips can be eaten raw, after being put through a blender, or soaked in water overnight and then cooked in the water for about half an hour.
A 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
Nutrition is an important part of the health of all children, but it is especially important for Children with Cancer, who often have poor appetites as a result of the cancer itself, or due to the side-effects of the cancer treatments.
Both cancer and its treatments may affect a child’s appetite, tolerance to foods, and their body’s ability to use nutrients. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help a child feel better and stay stronger.
For parents of Children with Cancer, the challenges of enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods are even greater than those faced by parents of healthy children, and require untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.
Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your child’s body tolerates certain foods and its ability to process, store and appropriately use nutrients at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.
The nutrient needs of Children with Cancer vary from child to child. Your child’s doctor, nurses, and a registered dietitian can help identify nutrition goals and plan ways to help your child meet them.
Eating a balanced, nutritional diet is very important for good health, especially for Children with Cancer, as they need the correct kind of nutrition to make help their compromised immune systems fight the cancer and other infections.
Children with cancer need protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.
This is not always easy, however, as individuals with cancer often lose their taste for various foods due to the cancer treatments, and some treatments make one feel nauseous or make everything taste metallic.
It is also often difficult for parents who are struggling financially to try to find something that their child can actually stomach eating – sometimes they can only keep down something like cheesenax, and the parent, just grateful that they are at least eating something, will ply them with this snack – it is not nutritional however, so one needs to try other things.