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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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✨Wishlist Wednesday✨ Food & Pre-Loved Goods


The one thing that we never have enough of at the Little Fighters Cancer Trust is FOOD.

More than 50% of the individual Childhood Cancer-affected families that are supported by the Little Fighters Cancer Trust have lost one income due to the child’s diagnosis.

This makes it very difficult for these families to ensure that their Child with Cancer has the nutritional food he or she needs in order to build up their immune system so that they can fight off the cancer.

LFCT helps out in excess of 100 families with food and other basic needs every month via our Feeding Our Families project.

We need YOUR help to put food on the table for many of our ‪‎Little Fighters and their Families who are really struggling.

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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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✨Wishlist Wednesday✨ Family Food Support


It is winter in South Africa, and that means that we need to eat more, eat more hot food, and eat more nutritional food in order to stave off the bitter cold weather, influenza, the sniffles etc.

This is vitally important for our Little Fighters, as Children with Cancer need all of their strength to build up their immune system which is compromised due to the cancer and as a result of the treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy.

Children with Cancer have to follow a nutritionally specific diet, which is often impossible for cancer-affected families to follow due to lack of funds.

In excess of 50% of the individual Childhood Cancer-affected families that are supported by the Little Fighters Cancer Trust have lost one income due to the child’s diagnosis. LFCT supports in excess of 100 Childhood Cancer-affected Families with groceries every month!

With one parent in the hospital for months, sometimes years on end, the sole breadwinner struggles to make ends meet at home. The Little Fighters Cancer Trust ensures that these families have food in the home while the Child with Cancer is in and out of hospital via our Feeding Our Families project.

We need YOUR help to put food on the table for many of our ‪‎Little Fighters and their Families who are really struggling.

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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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Our New Office & Pre-Loved Charity Shoppe


I was unfortunately unable to go through to Paarl in the week of the 15th to help with the massive job of packing and moving premises as I was indisposed – thankfully the Little Fighters Trust is fortunate enough to have some wonderful supporters that arrived in spades to help.

Last Friday I went through for a meeting and I was astounded at how much had already been sorted out and how great the new premises looked. I really have to take my hat off to all the helpers, but most of all to Team LFCT – all 3 of the ladies who run the office and the shop – the place looks STUNNING!!!!

While a paint job on the outside is called for, that will have to wait until their is time and the funds for the paint. The signage will be put up this week and I know Mandie will post pics of that, but in the meantime here are some photos I took after our meeting.

Please click on the photos to go to gallery view for larger photos and captions.

 

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✨Thankful Thursday ✨ 💞Mandela Day Gratitude 🙏


WOW! WOW! WOW! ✨ It is with the utmost humbleness and extreme gratitude 🙏 that we pen this post today.

While the Little Fighters Cancer Trust believes in making every day a Mandela Day, we usually do something extra every year on Mandela Day as well.

This year, due to unforseen circumstances, we ended up moving premises over this period and for the first time, we requested help for ourselves for Mandela Day – and we received  – it in heaps!!!

While most people believe that the Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a massive concern with many staff because we work Nationally, the truth is that there are only THREE permanent staff, all ladies, at our HO – everyone else Nationally is a volunteer….

We would firstly like to thank every one of our supporters that have supported us throughout the year, without you all we can do absolutely NOTHING. We are extremely grateful to each and every one of you, as are all of our Little Fighters and their Families.

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✨Wishlist Wednesday✨LFCT Pre-Loved Charity Shoppe


Good Afternoon from a chilly Western Cape to all our Supporters. We hope that you are all as comfy and warm as all of our Little Fighters who recently received soft, snuggly blankets compliments of all our Little Fighter Friends.

It is Wednesday again, which means that in this post we ask you for goodies that we need for our Little Fighters as well as other items on our Wishlist.

As most of you know by now, we moved premises (2 doors down) over the weekend, and are still busy getting everything sorted. Due to the fact that the new premises are much larger (YAY!), we have space for more goodies to sell and also need some Office & Shop Equipment etc.

We will give you more info on our move and our new premises as well as all the fantastic help that we had in tomorrow’s post – our supporters are ✨AWESOME ✨and deserve a post all to themselves…

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Do Alternative/Complementary Treatments Work for Cancer Treatment Side-Effects?


These days, walking into any major cancer centre looks rather different to a few years ago, because you are likely to see not only ordinary examination rooms, equipment, and chemotherapy suites, but also massage rooms, yoga mats, and possibly even a music therapy room.

This is the world of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. More and more recent research now supports complementary treatments such as Acupuncture, Yoga, and some diet supplements as good ways to relieve some of the side-effects of Chemotherapy Treatments.

Treatment centres that offer complementary options, as well as the amount of individuals taking advantage of them, have increased dramatically across the globe in recent years, with some studies showing that around 50% of all people undergoing cancer treatment use some kind of complementary option.

Most of the complementary treatments recommended by medical  doctors have few or no side-effects, according to the director of medical content at the American Cancer Society, Ted Gansler, MD, who states that it is fine to try Music Therapy or Meditation, for example, while you follow your standard treatment plan.

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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

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