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    Explainer: What is nanomedicine and how can it improve childhood cancer treatment?

    The Conversation has published an article about how Australian researchers are looking at how they can use nanomedicine to improve the side effects of cancer treatment for children. What is nanomedicine?  Nano means tiny – a nanometre is one-billionth of a metre! – and nanomedicine is the use of nanoparticles in medicine. This article talks about using nanoparticles to transport drugs to places they wouldn’t be able to go on their own. How does that help with side effects?  Nanoparticles can be designed to: better target cancer cells, which means less damage to healthy cells break down into harmless byproducts transport Read more [...]

  • Adult hospitals and treatment centres in Australia

    When it comes to hospital and treatment centres, teenagers and young people facing cancer have a unique set of needs. Where a young person is treated will most likely depend on their age. If you’re a young adult, you’ll go to an adult hospital. However, teenagers can be sent to either a children’s hospital or an adult facility. What hospital you go to may also depend on where you live or even what type of cancer you have. Not all hospitals offer cancer treatment, so you may have to travel, especially if you live in a regional or rural area. Some Read more [...]

  • Advice on friendship during your cancer journey

    This article Cancer and your friends from Redkite offers some advice around friendship during your cancer journey. Often young people find telling their friends about their cancer diagnosis particularly difficult. Even without cancer, people and relationships change – you may find that certain friendships change and new ones may emerge. Some ways to maintain friendships during this time include: Try to be honest and open with them if you can and lean on them when you need to Warn them you may be snappy or angry at times and ask them to forgive you if needed Ask them to keep inviting you Read more [...]

  • Helping a child to understand cancer

    The US website Cancer.Net offers advice to help a child understand cancer. They say: “For most parents, few things are as frightening as hearing from the doctor that your child has cancer. Parents are dealing with their own fears and confusion at this time. Yet, they must also face the task of helping their child understand his or her diagnosis.” It suggests what to tell your child based on their age and is broken up into age-appropriate sections including: aged 0-3, aged 3-7, aged 7-12, and teenagers. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources for parents of children with cancer, but we Read more [...]

  • Support for grandparents of kids with cancer

    Grandparents of Kids with Cancer is a web page which offers support for grandparents around the world, giving them a place to share their experiences with other people who have a grandchild with cancer. They advocate for the important role that grandparents play in the family, and acknowledge the emotional and practical needs of grandparents. On the website they say, “Being told that your grandchild has cancer is devastating. Not only is your grandchild going through the most traumatic experience, but your own child is also facing the worst pain imaginable. Talking to other grandparents who are going through the Read more [...]

  • Celebrating oncology nurses

    When it comes to cancer treatment, oncology nurses who care for teenagers and children are an integral part to a treatment team. Nurses can also transform a hospital experience – they can become an advocate, a teacher, a healer and in some cases, even a friend. To celebrate paediatric and teenage oncology nurses, we’ve found some videos that highlight how nurses have impacted the lives of their patients. Watch the videos now and tell us in the comments which is your favourite. Please note: These videos were filmed in the US and the UK. However, we’d love to share stories and Read more [...]

  • Cancer survivor creates empathy cards

    Emily McDowell has created these empathy cards for people with serious illnesses. As a cancer survivor herself, Emily understands that sometimes people don’t know what to say to someone when they are diagnosed with cancer. “The most difficult part of my illness wasn’t losing my hair, or being erroneously called ‘sir’ by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo. It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it.” – Emily McDowell These quirky empathy cards will Read more [...]

  • Children’s hospitals in Australia

    Children’s hospitals (also known as paediatric hospitals) specialise in the medical needs of children and teenagers. At children’s hospital the staff are specifically trained in taking care of children and teenagers. Chances are there will also be more child-geared activities on hand such as kids films and child entertainers. Expand the boxes below to learn more about children’s hospitals in each state. Some children’s hospitals do not treat children’s cancer, so you may need to move to a different state for treatment. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources for families who need to do this, including personal stories from Read more [...]

  • Caring for a son with cancer

    This New York Times documentary follows the story of Regina Hensley and her son Andrew as he fights an aggressive form of cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma. For years, Regina Hensley struggled with addiction, even once attempting suicide. When her son Andrew was born, he gave her a reason to live. But when he received his diagnosis at 13 years old, Regina had to search for meaning once again. ‘Without Andrew, I can’t imagine what life would be about.’ -Regina Hensley In response to the documentary, the Times received almost 100 responses from parents who were caring for a sick child. Cancer Advisor Read more [...]

  • Total body irradiation

    Total body irradiation (TBI) is the term used when radiotherapy is given to the whole body. Radiotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high energy rays, similar to x-rays. TBI may be used in conjunction with high dose chemotherapy drugs. This is often used in preparation for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.  This fact sheet from the Paediatric Integrated Cancer Service (PICS) provides information on total body irradiation. The resource gives an overview of: What is total body irradiation? Getting ready for total body irradiation What is it like? Taking care of your child during total body Read more [...]

  • World first: Australia produces childhood cancer data set

    Cancer Australia has produced the world’s first national data on diagnosis and survival rates of childhood cancer. The data set analyses early diagnosis and survival rates for 16 of the most common types of childhood cancers. The data is based on figures collected between 2006 and 2010 by the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry from hospitals across the country. In collaboration with Cancer Council Queensland, Cancer Australia Developed a method to standardise the information, hoping that this may be replicated overseas in the future. About 100 Australian children die each year from cancer, making it the main cause of death from disease. Read more [...]

  • One step closer to compulsory cancer education in UK

    Health education (including sex and relationship education) will become compulsory in the UK. According to a CoppaFeel press release this is one step closer to receiving compulsory cancer education. CoppaFeel is a UK breast cancer awareness charity. In their release, they explain: The guidance released today by the Department of Education shows great progress [showing]the need for pupils to be taught about not only the benefits of healthy eating and keeping fit (important factors to preventing cancer), but also the prevention of health problems and self examination. As we all know, preventing and detecting cancer early is vital in order to give Read more [...]

  • Keeping your child healthy during cancer remission

    This factsheet from US website familydoctor.org offers some information and tips for parents when their child finishes treatment. Whether your child is in partial or complete remission, you may have questions like ‘what do I do next?’ and fears like ‘what if the cancer comes back?’ This article covers some topics including: Nutrition and exercise, Keeping records of your child’s treatment, and Late effects. To end this resources suggests Questions to ask your doctor such as: What kinds of symptoms should I look for that mean I should call you? What doctors should my child see now that the cancer is Read more [...]

  • ONTrac at Peter Mac

    The ONTrac at Peter Mac Cancer Service is located at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Australia. Their multidisciplinary team of health professionals works together to ensure that young people are supported before, during and after their cancer treatment. This web page includes information on clinical services for young people like: diagnosis and disease management, palliative and survivorship care, general adolescent health, emotional and mental health concerns, fertility and sexual health, physical and nutritional wellbeing, school and vocation support, and family-focused treatments. The service also provides : Secondary consultation service, Professional development, education and training, research and data collection program, Read more [...]

  • For teachers: Cancer in the school community

    This booklet from Camp Quality offers tips for supporting children facing cancer in the school environment. This may include children with cancer, siblings of children with cancer, or children who have a parent with cancer. For any school experiencing cancer, it is important that teachers and support staff are equipped to educate the children about cancer and answer any difficult questions. Common questions from classmates include: How did they get sick? Can I catch it? Should I share things that are bothering me? They seem silly or trivial compared to what my friend is going through. What am I supposed Read more [...]

  • Livewire – an online community for teens

    When you’re a teenager with a serious illness, not many people really get what you’re going through – and it can be hard for siblings too. That’s why we’ve created Livewire: a safe community for young people aged 12-20 living with disability, serious illness or a chronic health condition who can do with crew who understand and offer a little extra support. Online, Livewire is a place you can visit any time, knowing you’re always amongst friends who genuinely care. Here, you can swap stories, ask for ideas, and talk about whatever’s going on in your life, from operations, MRIs Read more [...]

  • Unravel Pediatric cancer … until there is a cure

    Unravel Pediatric Cancer is a US based not-for-profit organisation working to spread knowledge about the realities of childhood cancer. They raise funds to: support research that investigates the causes and mechanisms of paediatric cancer; develop more effective and less toxic treatments; and find a cure. Unravel has produced an infographic to articulate their mission and show some statistics about childhood cancer in the United States.    After her daughter was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), Libby Kranz co-founded Unravel. DIPG is a type of brain cancer which doesn’t respond to chemotherapy and is terminal. She recalls: Her doctor Read more [...]

  • Looking after yourself during cancer

    This page from Redkite gives an overview of how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally during your cancer journey. A large part of dealing with cancer is learning how to take care of yourself so that you are better prepared for challenges, but also ready to enjoy good things that come your way. Redkite offers tips on: Self-care Looking after your body Looking after your mind Having fun and taking risks Redkite provides a range of support services for young people with cancer including practical tips, financial assistance, and professional counselling. Cancer Advisor has a range of resources Read more [...]

  • Sharing my cancer story at Sydney Colour Ball 2018

    Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sharing my cancer story at Sydney Colour Ball 2018 at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour. The Sydney Colour Ball is an annual, cocktail-style event that raises important funds for Redkite so they can reach even more families affected by cancer and provide them with its essential services. Every year, guests are encouraged to dress up in the colour theme – and this year’s colour was ultraviolet! The fun, party-like atmosphere of the Sydney Colour Ball certainly helped remove any nerves I had about sharing my story. There were lots of good food, drinks Read more [...]

  • Battle Weapons: A coping guide for young people with cancer

    Hi, my name is Nell and I’m the author of Battle Weapons: A coping guide for young people with cancer. I’m also a nurse and a cancer survivor. In high school, when we started the discussion about our future, my career advisor suggested nursing. This really appealed to me; to serve and support people at their most vulnerable is a great honour and privilege. Nursing is very diverse and I wasn’t sure for a long time where I wanted to take it, until I was diagnosed with cancer. I know my life’s purpose is to help those with cancer, particularly young people. Read more [...]