Childhood Cancer – Help & Hope For Healing

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

As a new mum, I feel even more aware of the importance of early detection and treatment of cancer in children.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  It is estimated that approximately 4,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK.childhood-cancer

What is childhood cancer?

Childhood cancer can be defined as cancer – an uncontrolled division of normal cells in a part/s of the body – which affects children and teenagers.

There are a number of different types of childhood cancer. Those which most commonly affect young people include leukaemia, lymphomas and CNS tumours.

How is cancer in children and adults different?

Unlike cancer in adulthood, which is often attributed to lifestyle or environmental risk factors, childhood cancers are believed to often be the result of DNA changes in cells. These changes can take place very early in life, sometimes even before birth.

What can be done to treat childhood cancer?

Thankfully, survival rates have hugely increased over the last few decades meaning that  it is believed 4 out of 5 young cancer patients can be successfully treated.

Overall, research suggests that types of childhood cancers tend to respond more positively to treatments such as chemotherapy.

The three most prevalent types of childhood cancer, their symptoms and common treatments are summarised below.

If you or someone you know has a child who is suffering from childhood cancer, you may find the following resources helpful for information and support:

www.headsmart.org.uk – a project to raise awareness of symptoms of brain tumours in young people
www.bloodwise.org.uk – Leukaemia and Lymphoma research
www.chemo-to-the-rescue.com – a children’s book about leukaemia
www.childbereavement.org.uk – support when a child is bereaved or when a child has a terminal illness or dies.
www.childdeathhelpline.org.uk – a helpline for anyone affected by the death of a child
www.dctc.org.uk – makes dreams come true for seriously and terminally ill children across the country
www.leukaemiacare.org.uk – 24 hour dedicated helpline
www.rainbowtrust.org.uk – provide emotional and practical support for families of children with life threatening or terminal illnesses.

What is Leukaemia ?

Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood. The most common form of Leukaemia, Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), tends to affect very young children, often under the age of 5.

It is a cancer which affects white blood cells (lymphocytes and myeloid cells). White blood cells are responsible for fighting infection.

In the case of ALL, the repair and replace process of white blood cells becomes disrupted. This means that, whilst cells continue to divide as usual, they do not reach maturity.
Therefore immature cells known as lymphoblasts (cells which typically ‘build’) are overproduced. This causes bone marrow to be filled up – the place where lymphocytes are produced – preventing the marrow from producing healthy blood cells.

What are the symptoms of Leukaemia?

Because white blood cells cannot work properly, children with leukaemia are at a higher risk of infection. Children may develop anaemia and there may be visible symptoms such as bruising, unusual bleeding, tiredness, breathlessness and paleness.

What are Lymphomas?

Lymphomas often grow in places called lymph nodes and other lymph tissues such as the tonsils or thymus.  The same cells are affected in children with lymphomas as those with leukaemia.
The difference between leukaemia and lymphomas is the place of development of the cancer – whilst leukaemia develops in the bone marrow and affects regular blood cell production, lymphoma develops in the lymphatic system and does not affect regular blood cell production.

The lymphatic system is also responsible for assisting the body’s immunity. Additionally, it plays a role in the removal or fluid from tissues and the absorption and transportation of fatty acids and fats from the digestive system.
Lymphomas may also affect areas such as bone marrow and other organs.

What are the symptoms of lymphomas?

Lymphomas can cause symptoms such as weight loss, tiredness, fever, sweats and lumps which are a result of swollen lymph nodes. These swollen lymph nodes might typically occur in the neck, armpit or groin areas.

Swollen lymph nodes in adults and children are usually are a sign of the body fighting infection. Therefore, swelling in these areas does not automatically signpost a cancer warning. However, it is always a good idea to visit your GP if you are concerned about your child’s health.

What are CNS tumours?

The CNS (Central Nervous System) includes the brain and spinal cord. CNS tumours are said to be the second most common type of cancer in children.

A tumour can be defined as a swelling of a part of the body caused by abnormal growth of tissue.  Tumours can be benign (non- cancerous) or malignant (cancerous)

What are the symptoms of CNS tumours?

Possible symptoms can include: headaches, vomiting, blurred or double vision, nausea, dizziness, difficulty walking or handling objects.

What is the treatment for these childhood cancers?

As with all cancers, treatment is complex and dependant upon individual cases. However, the main mainstream treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and or a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant. This second option usually only applies to high risk cases and radiotherapy is not used routinely.

However many families of those with childhood cancer turn to complementary treatments. These are often used alongside conventional medicine before, during and following mainstream treatment.

The goal of complementary or integrative medicine, is to treat the person as a whole. Integrative medicine can offer support for patients in the form of pain relief, reducing anxiety and improving feelings of calm and well-being overall.

Because a number of symptoms related to these cancers are similar, (including tiredness, anaemia and a reduced immune system function) complementary therapies which might support patients in their recovery include:

A diet rich in foods which support the immune system
This could include foods from organic sources. Furthermore, because children with ALL are said to be at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity (as complications of their cancer treatment), recommendations to follow a plant-based diet might help to slow or reduce these risks.

Clinical nutrition to further support the immune system
This should always be delivered by a qualified nutitionist in this area as some supplements may have additional side effects and or interefere with other treatments.

Massage is often found to be effective in reducing symptoms such as pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety and insomnia. It is important to locate a fully qualified massage therapist who will know to avoid certain areas such as those where tumors may be present, areas of infection or with low blood platelet counts.

Traditional Chinese Medicine such as accupuncture to combat feelings of nausea (which can be one of the side effects of chemotherapy, should patients be undergoing this) Research has found that this TCM can be very effective in treating a number of cancer-related symptoms. If used alongside conventional treatments, timing for aspects such as nausea reduction is suggested as being important. For instance, weekly accupuncture sessions 1-2 days prior to the timing of conventional medicine.

Aromatherapy, meditiation or Tai Chi
Whilst these therapies each have a number of potential benefits in their own right, they are also known to be excellent for relaxation and therefore are often used by cancer patients. The less stressed a person, the more chance their immune system has to be its strongest and therefore most able to combat illness.

Additionally, research into physical exercise and children with leukaemia suggests that by tailoring a suitable programme of exercise both during and following treatment may help to reduce treatment side effects such as osteoporosis, weight gain and a decrease in muscle tone. Tai Chi is one very gentle exercise that combines both mind and body benefits.

Whilst there is a school of thought that childhood cancers cannot be prevented in the same way that adults can change their diet, exercise and environment to lower their risk of developing cancer, awareness is key.

Simply being aware of some of the symptoms above and following this through with a health check could be key to early detection.

Canada – It’s Legal To Grow Your Won Medicinal Cannabis – Hallelujah!

Here at Mamazura we would like to congratulate the Canadian Government for making the beneficial decision to allow their citizens to grow their own medicinal cannabis – just as people have done, (and still do) in other countries and remote areas for thousands of years.  When Harvard University is conducting clinical trials on cannabis and finding even more benefits that were previously unknown, it’s time to take action. Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus at Harvar University for many years, was given the task of proving the negative effects of cannabis in the 1960s – EVERY scientific test he made showed some benefit and synergistic effect on the mind and/or body.  As Germany is set to follow suit and legalise cannabis in 2017 we ask WHEN will this happen in the UK?

Canada Has Legalized Growing Marijuana At Home

DON’T STRUGGLE FOR IDEAS IN THE LAST THROES OF THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS!

SUMMER HOLIDAYS STARTING TO STRESS YOU OUT? DON’T STRUGGLE FOR IDEAS IN THE LAST WEEKS – WE CAN HELP!

Your children probably ran out of the school gates on the last day of term jumping for joy. Six long weeks of carefree fun and games awaiting them; what could be better?

Perhaps you too were overjoyed at the prospect of some quality time together but a little overwhelmed at how to handle the span of weeks stretching ahead.  For many families,  time together can be precious yet stressful so here are some tips to help.

Whilst high cortisol levels might be useful for short periods of time (think getting everyone out of the door on time for the school run), prolonged periods of the fight or flight response can be damaging to our health.
Read on for tips to a low stress summer.

HAVE A PLAN

It’s the old adage: ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail.’  You might have rolled your eyes back in school if this was where you first heard it but there is definitely sense in this advice.

Having a plan, even if it’s only a rough idea, will save you a headache as you leap out of bed in the morning to the flurry of questions from your offspring.

Knowing where you might like to go and when means you’re more likely to be able to fit in outings without rushing to make it to venues before closing time, have the correct entrance fee if there is one and make play dates with other families before their diaries fill up.

If your children are old enough, why not sit down one evening and get them involved? Work out your budget and things you would be happy for everyone to do before hand and then have an idea generating session.

The kids will feel happy that they’ve had a say in things – it is their holiday after all – and  know what to expect. Just make it clear that it’s a rough plan (if it is) so that your little angels don’t have a tantrum if they were expecting you to follow things to the letter.

Better still, create a box of random draw cards with two ideas on each. One activity for good weather and one solution if it’s wet. Then everyone can take it in turns to enjoy a surprise each day.

HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

This is taken care of if you opt for the random draw idea above. Haven’t got time? Don’t think it would work for your family?

Instead, draft a rough plan yourself and then put a box of ’emergency supplies’ together (either mentally or literally)

Children get poorly, friends cancel at the last minute, pools suddenly close.  Think board games, bargain DVDs, a good value for money colouring or activity set. The Works (www.theworks.co.uk) or your local supermarket are good places to start.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DITCH THE PLAN

You know those days, the ones where it seems like literally everyone got out of bed on the wrong side? Those are the days to be prepared to drop all best laid ideas and just go with the flow.

If the children are tired, you’re tired or it just seems impossible to get out of the door, then it’s a sign that today should be an ‘easy’ day. Pyjama time, garden and toys time, a bit of television and quick easy meals are things everyone needs in between the hum drum of daily activities.

HEALTHY EATS

Trying to watch your weight and health? Quick can still be healthy. Try poached eggs on toast with a little spinach, oven baked fish with a baked potato and portion of veggies, quick and easy salads, soups with bread or fruit smoothies.

Don’t feel that you have to entertain your children the whole time. That’s a sure way on the road to exhaustion and whilst children need structure, they also need down time like the rest of us too.

ASK FOR HELP

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or ideally before you’re feeling overwhelmed, have someone on standby to lend a helping hand. It could be your partner or spouse, another parent friend, willing grandparent or if you can find one on your local area, a group which provides activities for the morning or an hours session.

You might need an extra adult to accompany a number of little people on an outing so that you don’t feel like a shepherd herding your flock. Or (and this is perfectly reasonable and should come attached with no guilt) you might just need a break. An hour, a morning or a day can make the whole world of difference to your sanity. And it’s good for your children too.

Relax with a magazine and cup of tea, book a massage, take a stroll down a country lane or go for a swim. Do whatever helps relax you to lower those cortisol levels and up your endorphins. (Chocolate counts here too!)

NOT EVERYTHING NEED COST MONEY

If the cost of taking one or many children to places to keep them amused is stressing you out, think again. You really don’t have to spend a  lot (or any) money to have a good time.

FREE ENTERTAINMENT

Check out local garden centres for aquariums and plants for little ones to look at, Arboretums for free and shaded walks, promotional days at farms where there may be minimal or no cost but plenty of animals and dust off your local newsletter or paper. There’s probably at least one free event near to you during the summer break.

Don’t shell out for extortionate cinema tickets (unless you really want the treat).  Enjoy at-home cinema with popcorn and homemade snacks.

FUN IN THE KITCHENshutterstock_98518805cooking kids

Baking can be relatively cheap in terms of the cost of ingredients and children can pretend that they’re part of The Great British Bake-Off. Just watch out for those with a competitive streak!

SEASIDE SAVINGS

Going to the beach? Save pennies by taking a packed lunch and limiting spending to an ice cream treat. Walks, beach combing, sandcastle building, paddling… They all come free once you’ve paid for the petrol.

Going by train? Book tickets in advance for large savings. Or why not car share if you know someone else with a family and there’s enough room for all the children? You can split the cost of fuel and there are more kids for your children to socialise with.

ONE GOAL A DAY

The summer holidays might be just that – a holiday – for your kids whilst for you, it’s the one time of the year you feel you have the chance to ‘get things done’ around the home.

If you want to limit stress here, don’t make your to do list too long. Painting the hall and  stairs single handedly, squeezing in a trip to the supermarket, zoo and playground at the same time as feeding and keeping an eye on your little ones might seem like a feasible idea at midnight. But the reality is, you’ll probably go into overdrive desperately trying to complete the tasks you set yourself. It’ll most likely mean that you’ll spend holiday days tearing your hair out and yelling.

Instead, create calm by choosing one thing a day if you really want to get things done. That could be one small job for yourself and one outing/activity for you and the children. Remember, you need to still be standing when they go back to school!

ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!

World Breastfeeding Awareness Week Starts Now!

Anti-Cancer Prevention And The Benefits Of Breastfeeding

As World Breastfeeding Awareness week has arrived, women across the world are given time to reflect on the benefits of breastfeeding, and how this natural process can not only nurture children- but provide proven protection against various reproductive cancers too.

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This is a relatively unknown advantage to breastfeeding, as breast cancer prevention is not a typical concern for new mothers, who are significantly more preoccupied with feeding their new babies than with preventing uterine cancers. However, in honor of Awareness week, which falls between August 1st and 7th, we’ve chosen to outline the significant and holistic health benefits that breastfeeding provides.

Breastfeeding: A Preventative Measure

Breastfeeding is a practice encouraged by both recognized health agencies, and governmental bodies, worldwide. The benefits are numerous, and can range from helping new mothers burn calories (and subsequently lose weight and get back to their pre-pregnancy body-shape) to reducing the risk of iron-deficiency anemia. However, recent yet somewhat undisclosed studies have also suggested that breastfeeding can potentially prevent reproductive cancers too. Cancer Research UK refers to statistical studies that indicate this.

Researchers came to this conclusion after noting that ovarian cancers and uterine cancers are more prevalent in women who chose to feed formula to their babies, and who opted not to breastfeed. Some experts suggest that new mothers who breastfeed have lower level of estrogen, and delayed menstrual cycles, which could provide natural barriers against specific cancers. While official studies have largely been proven inconclusive, compiled data seems to suggest that breast and uterine cancers could potentially be prevented by breastfeeding.

The Wonders of Breastfeeding

The potential to prevent cancer is a wonderful and invaluable benefit of breastfeeding. However, the advantages extend beyond the physical, and can prove psychologically beneficial to new mothers too.

Breastfeeding gives mother and baby the opportunity to bond more closely which could strengthen their relationship later in life. It can also help deter postpartum depression, and studies suggest that breastfeeding can help alleviate the symptoms of those suffering from depression or even pre-existing conditions.

WATCH THE VIDEO!

Moreover, mothers who breastfeed reportedly have lessened financial anxiety as breast milk is free, plus they avoid the hassle of buying and preparing formula milk.

Spreading Awareness

World Breastfeeding Awareness Week was created with the intention of informing women about the advantages of breastfeeding, and highlighting the potential drawbacks of not doing so. It’s worth noting that when given the choice, “breast is best”, although it must be acknowledged that some mothers are unable to breastfeed even when they would like to.

Women around the world can appreciate and learn more about the wonderful advantages breastfeeding can provide, thanks to this movement. Not only is breastfeeding more sustainable, it is also less wasteful and generally more advantageous than bottle.

Holistic Healing
Holistic Healing

Awareness of returning breastfeeding to a socially acceptable practice is also on the agenda. Many countries discourage breastfeeding in public places, but when it is done with consideration then it should be applauded and not derided as it’s one of our most basic functions – with enormous benefits. At mamazura, we happen to think it’s also a beautiful thing to see.

Women around the world can appreciate and learn more about the wonderful advantages breastfeeding can provide, thanks to htis movement. Not only is breastfeeding more sustainable it is also less wasteful and generally more advantageous than bottle feeding could ever be. The antibodies which will strengthen and develop a healthy immune system should be reason enough to give breastfeeding a good try.

For more information and help please refer to: http://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/tips/secrets-for-breastfeeding-success/ 

https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/BF-Guide-508.

It’s important that women support each other, by spreading awareness, and informing a new generation of mothers.

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IS CANCER A SURVIVAL MECHANISM? PART 1

Cancer – Often Viewed As A Battle – But Should We View It As An Indicator – Or Even A Survival Mechanism?

This question has been asked by and of, the medical profession before –  and the point is being debated now at higher levels and on many platforms – thankfully.

The fundamental way you view anything – your perspective, will impact on the success or failure of any treatment you decide upon….and much more than you may think. Holistic and Eastern health practitioners believe that mind and body are inextricably linked – so treating a symptom will never cure the root cause of the disease.

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Your mental attitude can influence anything and everything – including a prognosis – so perhaps that’s why some scientists and medical experts are of the opinion that cancer should be viewed as an indicator and more radically, even a survival mechanism. The psychological advantage of believing that cancer is your body itrying to tell you something rather than the negative idea that it is something  outside of our control, is inspiring. To belive that it’s ‘out to get us’ is damaging to recovery and healing. The very idea that we must battle our own bodies is a destructive thought . This is an essential distinction as it signifies that something in you needs to change – and if it’s one thing that humans are absolute champions at – it’s adapting. A sign that something is threatening you and more importantly, that cancer is the RESULT not the cause of that threat means that we can adapt and make changes that can result in healing…..and if there’s another thing our bodies are absolute champions at, it’s protecting and healing itself – when given the right tools. We should reclaim the ‘baby’ that was thrown out with the bath water in the early 20th century when holistic and naturopathic practitioners were outlawed  – as was any doctor wishing to prescribe more natural protocols. Large donations were made to major US universities by Carnegie and Rockefeller, who had recently added pharmaceuticals to their business portfolis. The ‘price’ was  ‘standardised‘ medical text books omitting nutrition and herbal medicine. Today, nutrition is given little importance in the training of our doctors and health professionals because age-old wisdom of herb and plant medicine was denounced as ‘quackery‘. Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine” and we have all suffered for not heeding this tenet.

On average,  every person with a healthy immune system will destroy 200 ‘rogue‘ cells as a matter of course. Just another amazing job our immune system attends to – when it’s a healthy, functioning immune system.

There are 12 steps in the mutation of a healthy cell into a cancerous one. Twelve different steps MUST take place unchallenged by your immune system for a cancer cell to take hold and establish itself. Cancer usually takes YEARS to overwhelm the body – that surely tells us that this is a difficult thing to achieve. However, the incidence of cancer has  increased exponentially over the past 100 years when advances in most other areas of technology and industry have improved.Death Rates Stats 2016-01-09 at 17.07.46

Source: 1900-1970, U.S. Public Health Service.

There are serious questions to be asked.

ANDREAS MORITZ in his article “Cancer Is Not A Disease – It’s A Survival Mechanism” states  that: It will perhaps astound you to learn that a person who is afflicted with the main causes of cancer (which constitute the real illness) would most likely die quickly unless he actually grew cancer cells. In this work, I provide evidence to this effect. I further claim that cancer will only occur after all other defense or healing mechanisms in the body have failed. In extreme circumstances, exposure to large amounts of cancer-producing agents (carcinogens) can bring about a collapse of the body’s defenses within several weeks or months and allow for rapid and aggressive growth of a cancerous tumor. Usually, though, it takes many years, or even decades, for these so-called “malignant” tumors to form.

Maria Trevelyan from mamazura says: “This uplifiting view deserves consideration because an auto-immune disease is not natural – it goes against the fundamental objective of homeostasis. “

Although mainstream medicine does not term cancer ‘auto-immune‘ it’s a disease where normal cells turn ‘rogue’.  Homeostasis is our optimum default – our bodies work tirelessly to this end….although it is a state…and not an end. Buffer systems are constantly jockeying with enzymes, hormones – brain and nervous systems are constantly monitoring and interacting with every cell in the body to maintain homeostasis. If a more positive mental perspective on cancer is possible – that’s surely a good thing.

 

GOING LIVE!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2016 promises to be something special! Mamazura is about to launch a great resource for those seeking help, healing and inspiration when it comes to everything ANTI-CANCER.  Whether you are looking for preventative health information or if you need support because you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer – we’re here to help. Mamazura was inspired by our very own cancer survivor and you can check out Joanna’s Story here – It’s entitled “From Here To Uncertainty” and the first two chapters are ready to read right now. It’s well worth looking at for the hindsight and insight of someone who has been there – done the research, made the changes and survived. In fact, the process never stops and new research is giving hope to countless people each and every day.

…and the new year is the perfect time to reactivate your good intentions  and ACTIVATE THEM  – lose that weight, learn to relax
and  take control of your health and wellbeing – the benefits are so great you’ll be glad you did.

Not long to wait now…we’re going live in the next 48 hours so we’ll see you on the other side of our launch.

Enjoy & Be Well.

The Mamazura Team