Caring For Children With Cancer

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, parents find themselves facing their fear of losing their child. These days such a diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence because of the daily discoveries of science and medicine. Many patients and their families have experienced how oncology solutions are possible. Each success story brings promises of life and health to families struggling with childhood cancer.

Tumors occur in organs and tissues and are found in all age groups, including infants. The type of tumor and how it is treated can depend on where the tumor is located. A cancerous tumor is one that shows invasive properties. The cells break off and migrate to different tissues. Because the DNA is damaged, the cells have lost their ability to experience a natural cycle of birth and death. The end result is an over growth of cells that take over healthy cells, creating havoc in the diseased area. A begin tumor can often be left alone unless it interferes with the function of the nervous system and other organs. Once the cancer has been diagnosed exploring the different treatment options is essential to healing. One interesting fact is that children generally have a better response to treatments than adults.

One of the big differences between an adult cancer patient and a child is a child is still developing. Both children and adults have to replace the tissue destroyed by chemo and radiation therapy, but a child needs extra nutrition for their bodies to grow. Parents should consult with nutritionists and doctors to make sure the child is receiving enough protein. Carbohydrates are important, as well as enough fat to provide energy for growth and development. According to the American Cancer Society, children can need up to 90 percent more carbohydrates than a child without cancer. Other nutritional areas to consider are how chemo treatments can cause vomiting and diarrhea, creating dehydration in an already weak patient. Water becomes extremely important to keep the body lubricated and able to function. If a child cannot eat during their treatments, talking to a doctor or nutritionist who specializes in working with childhood cancer can provide solid information on how to work with the loss of appetite.

During the diagnostic and treatment phase of cancer, both the family and patient need support. In younger children, they often do not understand they are sick. The medical care they are undergoing can be frightening and seen as a form of punishment. While teens may experience a change in how their friends and teachers approach them. Parents need support because of dealing with the extra responsibilities found in the care of a sick child. People who are dealing with similar problems can provide understanding and relevant advice due to shared experiences of a similar illness. Families need to know that cancer is not a death sentence. There are solutions, providing a chance for the family and child to be fully healed and ready to move on to the happier experiences of growing up.

About the author:

Article contributed by Candace Dubois.

About Pepper

I am a single working mom, trying to raise my kid the best way I know how. Join me as I navigate my way through the jungle that is Single Mom-hood, armed with rose-colored glasses and strength of spirit. As pepper adds spice to food, so does my daughter add spice to my life. She makes life no less than…PEPPERRIFIC!

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  1. Columba Lisa says

    Thanks for bringing up the importance of nutrition, especially for children. It must be so hard to go through a child’s cancer battle.

  2. My daughter had a little boy in her class who was out all last year due to cancer. Louisville offers a wonderful cancer unit for kids in Kosair Hospital it the one area I’ve never been able to volunteer, it breaks my heart to much to deal with.):

  3. I agree with Lisa. It’s great to point out the nutrition needs of children battling cancer. I am so thankful we have never had to endure that battle, and pray a cure is found so no more children have to suffer such a terrible disease.

  4. Our son was 4 years old when he was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma (malignant brain tumour) while it has not been a death sentence for him it has left many lasting scars (not just physical) which he will struggle to overcome for the rest of his life. Nutrition is a huge challenge, we struggled just to get a snack size apple sauce in to him in a whole day. He was positively skeletal for awhile. You can get to the point that any calorie is a good calorie, I offered him foods I would never have dreamed of offering a 4 year old just to get him to eat, in the end we had to put him on a drug to help his appetite. Thank you for bring awareness to this topic obviously it is close to my heart. Childhood cancer is incredibly underfunded. Yet it is the number 1 disease killer of our children, More then all the other diseases combined!! In the past 30 years only ONE new cancer drug has been approved specifically for pediatric use! Okay I have said enough I could rant all day. Again thank you for bringing awareness.

  5. The Detox Diva says

    Nutrition is SO important for anyone with cancer and unfortunately kids diets are often the worst! Childhood cancer is such a tragedy but I am a big believer in alternative paths, a blend of Eastern and Western medicine. China has had really good luck with pediatric cancers and using stem cells in ways they are just not utilising in the West.

  6. It would be difficult for kids to fight the big C which is why full support from family is needed and important to encourage the kid to live normally.

  7. It’s sad that even innocent children gets cancer. It’s hard for adults and it’s even harder for them because they’re not strong enough to fight. I’m praying for everyone going through such a condition. May God give you the spirit and the strength to overcome the struggle.

  8. I’ve experienced caring for an adult with cancer and that is already a challenge. I can’t imagine how difficult it could be further when caring for children, especially when there’s pain involve. Although there are medications offered to alleviate the experience, I hope that someday a cure will be found.

  9. Indeed, it will be a tough and grueling match for parents to face fighting the realities Big C brings to its victim. But with prayers, personal attention, and proper medications and nutrients, patients have a high ratio for recovering.

  10. Gigi Beleno says

    As a child’s body is still developing, once afflicted with any disease the development is being hampered thus the importance of giving attention to what he eats to counteract the disease.

  11. CANCER is an illness that kills but it can slowly kill a person’s hope to live as normal as possible. It’s even more painful if kids suffer with such dreadful disease. Relatives especially the parents should possess tremendous amount of strength to take care of their kid.

  12. Thank you for sharing this vital information.

  13. It’s painful to see children sick, especially with cancer. In my high school days, I helped out my mother with volunteer work at the Red Crescent in Malaysia. There were kids who didn’t just have serious conditions, some had mental problems too. It was heart-breaking, but it taught me much compassion.

  14. Its really hard to fight cancer. They need to have need someone that would help them and support them through their fight. Hard it may be.

  15. everybody should be cautious to what they eat and the proper care for your health.

  16. Good points in here Pepper. Indeed they need all the support they can get, moral and financial as well.

  17. .. talking about nutrition, it is also best get away from acids! softdrinks; too much sweets.. a no no..

  18. So true. Kawawa both ang kidlets and ang parents. Aside from magastos, it affects the family emotionally, as well.

  19. I was about to say cancer in kids will be more difficult than those sa adults.. but no.. cancer is difficult! adult or child..

  20. One of our company’s VPs had a child who was diagnosed with cancer (can’t remember the exact type). It was so heartbreaking seeing her in that state. In a perfect world, children would not undergo this type of pain. =(

  21. Thanks for sharing this. One of my favorite preachers has a daughter with cancer. The faith the family has that she would get better is amazing. Let Christ be a source of comfort to every believing family who goes through this.

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