Jul 29, 2022 Word for Word Media
Rainbows and Smiles, an NGO that is dedicated to supporting children with cancer, shares the frequently asked questions when a child is diagnosed with leukaemia. What is childhood leukaemia? Leukaemia or blood cancer occurs when there is an overgrowth of abnormal white cells. These leukaemia cells grow to the point that they eventually consume and destroy the normal bone marrow. Eventually these cells spill out into the blood where they are detected. Leukaemia is the most common form of childhood cancer, accounting for almost one out of three cancers. The most common type of leukaemia is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.  Why do children get leukaemia? The exact cause of…

Jul 29, 2022 Word for Word Media
Prof Gita Naidu describes the most common cancers found in adolescents. The incidence of cancer is rising among adolescents; the cause of the increase is unknown. Annually approximately 5000-6000 adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US, with 500-600 adolescent deaths. Cancer SEER data revealed an increase of 0.67% for males and 0.62% for females during the period 1975 through 2012, resulting in more than a 25% increase over 38 years. Cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in adolescents. This data is lacking in SA. According to the SEER Cancer Statistics Review, during 2008 and…

Mar 28, 2022 Word for Word Media
Professor Gita Naidu explains the various challenges that are faced in paediatric stem cell transplantation. Stem cell therapy has become a very promising and advanced scientific research topic. Multi-potent haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the most popular stem cell therapy and is used to eliminate blood diseases that infiltrate the bone marrow, such as leukaemia, or to correct congenital immunodeficiency disorders and metabolic defects. Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation is also used to enable cancer patients to receive higher doses of chemotherapy than the bone marrow is normally able to tolerate.  Two types of stem cell transplantation Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) uses human leucocyte…

May 27, 2021 Word for Word Media
Prof Gita Naidu informs us of what is known about COVID-19 and childhood cancer treatment. Understanding coronavirus SARS-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified, in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause common colds, as well as more serious respiratory diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). How is the virus spread? The coronavirus is spread by those who are infected when they cough, sneeze, talk, raise their voices (shouting or singing), or even by breathing. Droplets which have the virus fall on people in…

Nov 30, 2020 Word for Word Media
Judith Mgobhozi shares the incredible story of of her son, Khayalethu,who was given 48 hours to live when he was diagnosed with leukaemia at three months. Today Khaya is a strong and upbeat six-year-old. Khayalethu Makhaye (6) lives in, Umkomaas, Kwa-Zulu Natal with his mother, Judith, and his baby sister, Ziyana. Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia Khaya was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at three months in June 2014. His temperature was high and he was vomiting and had diarrhoea so I took him to a private hospital where he was admitted.  The paediatrician took blood; when he returned, he told me he was…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Courtney Sole Being a sibling of a cancer patient Courtney Sole (13) speaks about the reality of being a sibling of a cancer patient. Being a sibling isn’t easy, especially if your sister or brother had or has cancer. My brother, Josh, had cancer and l remember exactly how l felt. Sometimes it’s fine and you are okay. But other times you are not.  The day my parents told me Josh had cancer, l didn’t know what to think. l was very scared and worried that something would happen to him. All l wanted to do was protect him and…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Warrior Josh Twelve operations, over 100 days in hospital, 14 months of chemotherapy and 60 days of radiation, Warrior Josh comes out stronger and braver as ever. Joshua Sole (11) lives in Randpark Ridge, Gauteng with his parents, Mike and Lara, and his older sister, Courtney (13). Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma  It was Lara’s intuition and maternal instinct that noticed something was wrong with Josh. “He had played two hours of rugby and that night I noticed he went to the bathroom three times. This wasn’t normal for him. I took him to the homeopath the next day, thinking it could be…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Childhood cancer in South Africa Prof Gita Naidu, Head of the Paediatric Oncology Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, sheds light on the current standing of childhood cancer in SA. Childhood is a time of innocence and joy. Yet, unfortunately, every year more than 250 000 children and adolescents younger than 20 are diagnosed with childhood cancer globally.  According to estimates by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), almost 100 000 deaths occur annually in children and adolescents; 90% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Eighty percent of young cancer patients diagnosed in…

Nov 27, 2019 Word for Word Media

We hear about The Reach For A Dream Foundation’s latest project: Dream Rooms and how they are sanctuaries for children with life-threatening illnesses. The Reach For A Dream Foundation initiative that was launched in 2018, Dream Rooms are dedicated spaces in hospitals for children who are facing life-threatening illnesses and undergoing treatment. The Dream Rooms are sanctuaries for the brave children, from the ages of three to 18, and parents who need a safe place to relax in hospital and escape the clinical surroundings. Families can spend time in bright and colourful areas that inspire hope and where children can experience the joy of being a child. Due…

Nov 27, 2019 Word for Word Media
Recently, blood disease patients receiving treatment at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, in KwaZulu-Natal, experienced virtual relaxation therapy. We hear about the positive effects. The Sunflower Fund proactively creates awareness and education about blood diseases as well as the process involved in becoming a stem cell donor. They remain a Registry of donors that is representative of the people groups in our rainbow nation, who are willing to help anyone for whom they might be a match. With the support of sponsors, like The Wend, who generously supplied the visual relaxation as gifts to the patients, together they could…

Sep 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
Sensei Ilze van der Merwe tells us how Kids Kicking Cancer (KKC) is giving hope and strength to childhood cancer patients and their families. Origin of KKC Kids Kicking Cancer was founded, in 1999, by Elimelech Goldberg, a black belt karate instructor and clinical assistant professor of paediatrics at Wayne State University in Michigan, USA.  The program is now running in over 60 hospitals, across five countries, and has positively impacted the lives of more than 6 000 children and their families, as well as the healthcare professionals treating them. How does KKC help children? KKC is designed to empower and uplift children who are battling…

Sep 26, 2018 Word for Word Media
We hear why honest communication is a cornerstone of good children’s palliative care. Good communication from all channels Communication is the cornerstone of all interaction and ensures relationship. However, poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, anxiety, resentment and, inevitably, a complete breakdown of trust.  Good communication practices in palliative care are crucial. Particularly when caring for very sick children and their families. This includes communication between the palliative care team members themselves; conversations with parents; communication between parents; and, most significantly, direct communication with the sick child.    A conspiracy of silence Children are among the most marginalised and vulnerable members of society…