Sunday November 18, 2018

Deadliest Brain Cancer: Glioblastoma

At Texas A&M University in College Station, researchers are looking to see whether they can disrupt the body's production of a protein associated with tumor growth.

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A high-magnification image from a 2012 glioblastoma case is seen as an example in this College of American Pathologists image released from Northfield. VOA
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U.S. Senator John McCain’s death from glioblastoma on Saturday brought new attention to the most deadly type of brain cancer.

The National Brain Tumor Society says 80 percent of brain tumors are benign, but a glioblastoma tumor grows rapidly, and it returns after treatment. It usually affects adults, especially men over age 50, but women and even children can develop this type of cancer.

Glioblastoma begins in glial cells that surround and support nerve cells. Because glioblastoma spreads so quickly, the sooner the cancer is diagnosed, the more treatment options a patient has.

Symptoms can include headaches, seizures, memory loss, changes in personality, changes in vision, and difficulty speaking or understanding conversations. The tumor can also affect coordination.

Glioblastoma is generally considered incurable because it is difficult to remove all of cancer during surgery, which is why it can grow back. Surgery is usually the first treatment, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. McCain’s treatment included these three options.

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Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Drugs used to treat patients with this type of cancer have lengthened patients’ lives over the past two decades. The National Cancer Institute reports that in the mid-1990s, the average survival rate was eight to 10 months. With new drugs patients now live between 15 and 18 months on average. McCain’s tumour was diagnosed in July 2017. He died little more than a year later.

The National Cancer Institute says survival has also improved slightly. In the mid-1990s, essentially no one with glioblastoma survived five years after diagnosis, now 15 per cent of patients do, a very small proportion compared with survival rates for most other types of cancer.

Researchers are looking for new ways to treat glioblastoma. Those at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, are using a modified polio vaccine with promising results. In the first part of a clinical trial, 21 percent of the patients survived for three years after being treated.

At Texas A&M University in College Station, researchers are looking to see whether they can disrupt the body’s production of a protein associated with tumor growth.

Also Read: USA Sees a Significant Rise in STD Cases

Other research involves seeing whether the body’s own immune system could fight off the cancer cells.

The National Brain Tumor Society issued a statement on McCain’s death. It said the society was “profoundly saddened” and called for a national effort to combat the disease. (VOA)

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

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Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

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India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
Pixabay

“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)