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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For the second time this year, Michael Bublé has withdrawn from a prior commitment in order to “focus on his family” amid his 3-year old son’s cancer battle.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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Helen’s Story – Retinoblastoma Part 2


 

Helen 2nd birthday mickey mouse party

Hey There,

Helen and mommy Siobahn here again – today we are going to continue with “Helen’s Story” because we want everyone out there to know about Childhood Cancer and about my cancer, Retinoblastoma.

Now that the problem had been diagnosed as Retinoblastoma, things moved along very quickly. The diagnosis was made on the Thursday and the operation to remove the eye was scheduled for the next Monday.

Helen underwent an MRI Scan as well as a Lumbar Puncture in order to determine whether cancer was present anywhere else in Helen’s body. Fortunately all tests came back negative and it was determined that the cancer was confined to Helen’s left eye.

Helen underwent surgery to remove the eye and she and mommy stayed overnight in ICU and in the normal Paediatric ward the next night, during which time Helen she had a plaster over her eye. The plaster was removed before she went home the next day and replaced by a transparent shield to prevent infection and was removed two weeks later.

A ball implant was inserted into the empty eye socket and Helen currently wears nothing over the eye  – she will get a prosthesis when she is a little bit older and able to handle the hygiene it requires (toddlers tend to play in the sand or touch unhygienic toys etc. and then rub their eyes).

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Helen’s Story – Retinoblastoma Part 1


 

Helen 7 months old

Hi,

my name is Helen and my mommy and I would like to share my story with you so that more people can get to know about Childhood Cancer; in this case specifically Retinoblastoma.

Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina, and can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.

Retinoblastoma may occur in one or both eyes, but rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Although it is the most common eye tumour in children, it is a rare childhood cancer and accounts for about 3-4% of childhood cancers.

The main challenge of treating Retinoblastoma is the prevention of blindness, however approximately 98% of children with retinoblastoma are cured.

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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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10 Portions of Fruit &Veg Daily Best for Health


fruits-and-vegetables-smAccording to most doctors and nutritionists, eating five portions of fruits and vegetables daily is considered sufficient for good health, but a recent study, reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology,  posits that the greatest benefits come from eating 10 portions a day.

An analysis of 95 studies assessing the health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption have led researchers to believe that eating 800 grams (around 10 portions of 80 grams) of fruits and vegetables daily was associated with the lowest risk of disease and premature death.

One portion of fruits of vegetables was defined as 80 grams – the equivalent to a small banana, pear, or apple, or three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as peas, broccoli, or cauliflower.

The study, undertaken by Lead author Dr. Dagfinn Aune, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues, took into consideration 95 studies that involved almost 2 million participants and around 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and 94,000 deaths.

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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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High Cost of Cancer Treatments Impact Medication Adherence


pillsAccording to a recent study conducted by researchers at the American Cancer Society and published in the journal Cancer, the high ever-rising cost of cancer treatment is affecting prescription drug adherence.

The study, which used data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that patients with cancer were far more likely to stop taking their medication or switch it for financial reasons than patients with other diseases.

Rising deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and tiered drug formularies all contribute to the increasing percentage of cancer care cost that patients must now pay for out of pocket. This can affect survivors’ overall wellbeing, lead to poorer treatment choices, have a negative effect on outcomes and cause higher medical expenses down the line, according to the study.

I would encourage patients to discuss their financial concerns with their care providers when making treatment decisions,” said Xuesong Han, Ph.D., strategic director, Health Policy and Healthcare Delivery Research at the American Cancer Society, and author on the study.

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