Tuesday January 23, 2018

Classes in hospital for child patients with cancer

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source: searsnationalkidscancerride.com
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Mumbai: The Tata Memorial Hospital offers classes for its young cancer patients right on its premises and even arranges for them to go to a special school, which ensures that the children don’t face a gap in their studies.

The TMH paediatric facility, ImPaCCt Foundation, started this service in March this year. Classroom sessions and activities are carried out through this, which engage the minds of the children, making sure they can rejoin school easily after their treatment concludes, stated the hospital doctors on Tuesday.

TMH’s Paediatric and Medical Oncology Department HOD Dr Shripad Banavali said that a well-rounded approach was needed in the case of child patients, as only proper education would be able to make them an active part of the society once they were cured. Around 70 to 80 per cent children recover completely after treatment.

“We were nurturing the body, now we also nurture the mind,” he said.

The children in the ward can take part in a customised educational programme while short activities are carried out for those in the waiting area.

Mindsprings Enrichment Centre, which works with children having special learning needs, provides professional teachers for the hospital classes. Some of the child patients are also sent to Canshala, a Can Kids-run school situated on Elphinstone Road for children with cancer.

To ensure that the kids don’t miss a school year, Canshala even provides them with a certificate after treatment ends.

Teachers use non-verbal means of communication to overcome language barriers since children at TMH come from all over the country,” said Priya Iyer of Mindsprings, explaining that the programme was designed after a study on how to connect with these children.

During treatment, the shift from studies to hospital for children hampers their normalcy and “affects the child’s cognitive abilities due to lack of stimulation,” said Dr Banavali.

Each child patient is registered and a customised education plan is provided based on the child’s school and medium of instruction, said ImPaCCT Foundation Secretary Shalini Jatia. Individuals, corporates and NGOs, have all come together to make the programme a success through the Corporate Social Responsibility Arm.

Paediatric Oncology professor, Gaurav Narula said that classroom session had gained popularity with the children after the programme had matured for nine months.

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Pregnancy seems Safe for Breast Cancer Survivors: Study

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breast cancer
FILE - A patient receives chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer at the Antoine-Lacassagne Cancer Center in Nice, July 26, 2012. VOA
  • The study, done in Europe, is the largest so far on women whose cancers were fueled by hormones
  • About 11 percent of new breast cancer cases in the U.S. are in women under 45
  • The research involved more than 1,200 breast cancer survivors

A study gives reassuring news for breast cancer survivors who want to have children. Those who later became pregnant were no more likely to have their cancer come back than those who did not have a baby.

It’s a big issue — the average age of moms has been rising in the United States, and more women are being diagnosed with breast cancer in their childbearing years. About 11 percent of new breast cancer cases in the U.S. are in women under 45.

The study, done in Europe, is the largest so far on women whose cancers were fueled by hormones, which rise in pregnancy and, theoretically, might spur a recurrence.

“Having a family is one of the most important achievements in a person’s life,” said study leader Dr. Matteo Lambertini of the Jules Bordet Institute in Brussels, Belgium. These results show that “pregnancy after breast cancer can be considered safe.”

The research involved more than 1,200 breast cancer survivors. More than half had tumors whose growth was fueled by estrogen. After treatment, 333 became pregnant, about two and a half years after their cancer diagnosis, on average. Researchers compared them to 874 other survivors, matched for tumor type and other things, who did not.

More than 12 years after conception, recurrence rates were similar in both groups. Abortion had no impact on the rates either.

There was information on breast-feeding for 64 of the moms, with 25 reporting doing so successfully, suggesting it’s possible for some women even after breast surgery.

The results show “fairly convincingly” that women don’t have to worry, said Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The group featured the study at its annual conference that ended Tuesday in Chicago.

A big study under way in the U.S. and other countries is taking this research one step further, testing whether it’s safe for breast cancer survivors who want to get pregnant to temporarily suspend taking the hormone-blocking drugs like tamoxifen usually recommended for five years after initial treatment.

If they wait until all five years are past, they might be too old to have a baby, said Dr. Ann Partridge, who specializes in treating young women with breast cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She is helping enroll patients in the study, called POSITIVE.

Participants must have used the hormone blockers for at least 18 months before stopping, and can suspend treatment for up to two years to enable pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding.

Sarah Murray of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is the first U.S. woman in the study to have had a baby. She was 29 and planning her wedding when her breast cancer was found in 2013.

“We had just set the date when I got diagnosed, the same week. So obviously, children was on our minds,” she said.

Worries about triggering a recurrence if she got pregnant “did weigh on me quite a bit,” she said, but “I didn’t want the fear to have power over a decision that would bring so much joy.”

Her son, Owen, was born in December. (VOA)

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