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As Seen in the NYT: Obama Takes First Step in a Cancer ‘Moonshot’

Tag Archives: Cancer

NYT Obama Moonshot CancerPresident Obama signed a presidential memorandum on Thursday creating a White House task force on cancer, the first step in what Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has called a “moonshot” to cure the disease, administration officials said.

The president appointed Mr. Biden to lead the panel, which will include representatives from at least 13 government agencies. The group’s first meeting will be on Monday, officials said. Read more

The presidential memorandum signed Thursday says the task force’s goal is to double the rate of progress on treatment and prevention, a benchmark Biden first introduced earlier this month in tandem with Obama’s State of the Union address. The administration hasn’t said exactly how that will be measured, but laid out areas for potential progress including better use of federal dollars to support cancer prevention, treatment and early detection.

Coping with Grief: You Are Not Alone

For many years, the death of a child was something to be whispered about behind closed doors.  Not knowing how to react or what words to say, family and friends would simply ignore the tragedy, perhaps offering a simple, quietly worded “I’m so sorry” and then quickly moving on to the next topic.  Parents were told that “time heals all wounds” and “your child is in a better place,” but often didn’t feel comfortable sharing their grief, while even close friends and family worried about bringing up “painful memories.”

Grief quotes

Yet any parent who has lost a child knows that time does not heal all wounds, and grief over the loss of a child to childhood cancer cannot and should not simply be swept under the rug or ignored until it passes.  At the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO), we believe that the lives of children who have lost their battle with childhood cancer should be celebrated.  We believe that grieving parents and grieving families should be invited to share their grief openly, because while grieving for a lost child never ends, knowing that you are not alone, knowing that you can talk about your child and his or her fight, his or her beauty and strength, can make it just a little bit easier to cope with the difficult task of living.

If you have lost a child to childhood cancer, there are many, many resources available to help you cope with this difficult, challenging trauma.  Whether through an online support community or a local grief support group, we encourage you to find a way to express your grief, share your story, and hear from others who are also attempting to cope with their grief.  While by no means an exhaustive list, the following online resources can help you locate online groups, in-person communities, and grief centers dedicated to reminding you that you are not alone and that help is available.

(https://www.inspire.com/groups/american-childhood-cancer-organization/):

Our online peer-to-peer support community offers members 24-hour access to other families who know what you are going through.  Focused specifically on childhood cancer-related issues, including bereavement, our Inspire community includes online discussion groups and personal journals and blogs, so you can read about others who understand what you are going through and share as much or as little of your story and your amazing child as you are comfortable with.

  • The Compassionate Friends (http://www.compassionatefriends.org/home.aspx). Developed specifically to provide support to parents and family members who have suffered the loss of a child.  Includes online support and resources, as well as local chapters and more than 660 meeting locations around the country.
  • Bereaved Parents of the USA (BP/USA) (org): A national, non-profit self-help organization dedicated to newly bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings. Newsletters, articles, and brochures are available on-line; many states have local chapters with in-person support group meetings.
  • GriefNet (http://griefnet.org/): An Internet community of families, individuals, and children coping with grief. Members can access more than 50 email support groups, including many designed just for children.
  • The Centering Corporation (http://www.centering.org/): Offers resources, book, and magazines dedicated to helping cope with and manage grief. Includes a special listing of resources for loss of a child and loss of an infant.

Online and in-person resources geared specifically towards children coping with loss include:

  • The Dougy Center (dougy.org): A grieving center designed just for children and teens in Portland, Oregon, the Dougy Center also offers a wide variety of on-line resources, including books, DVDs, and activities, geared for children of all ages. Can make referrals to child-centered grief programs and support groups across the country.
  • Fernside (fernside.org): Online and phone-based support, as well as “how to help” booklets for parents and caregivers coping with the needs of grieving children.

The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship and bereavement.  At the national level, the ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer.  At the grassroots level, the ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for families and learning resources for children in order to make the lives of children and their families a bit easier and perhaps even brighter during this difficult time.  Many of our resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer.

For additional information on resources available through the ACCO to help you cope with the loss of a child to childhood cancer, please visit our website at www.acco.org.

For more information about the American Childhood Cancer Organization and how we can help you cope with the loss of a child to childhood cancer, call 855.858.2226 or visit:

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The Critical Importance of Good Nutrition for Children Fighting Childhood Cancer

cancer and nutritionEstablishing good eating habits and enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods is an issue with which all parents with young children struggle.  For parents of kids with cancer, however, the challenges are even greater, requiring untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.  Why is good nutrition so important, yet so challenging, for kids with cancer?  The fact is that many forms of childhood cancer, as well as today’s cancer treatments involving chemotherapy and radiation therapy, negatively impact your child’s appetite, ability to eat, and ability to process and store nutrients appropriately, making a healthy diet even more difficult to maintain at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.

If your child is undergoing treatment for childhood cancer and is struggling to maintain a nutritious diet, or is losing or gaining significant amounts of weight, we encourage you to speak to your child’s oncology team immediately.  They can offer important information about your child’s dietary needs, and may recommend working with a registered dietitian who can offer more tailored guidance on the best foods for your child, given his or her unique medical circumstances.  It is also important to share your experiences with other parents going through, or who have gone through, a similar experience, as they may be able to offer helpful hints around making eating easier and more enjoyable for your child during this difficult time.

Why is eating right so important for kids with cancer?

All children require more calories per pound than adults to ensure proper and healthy growth and development.  The bodies of kids with cancer bear an additional burden, however: they may require even more calories to provide their small bodies with critical energy to fight the cancer and heal damaged tissues.  Helping your child take in sufficient calories, along with much-needed vitamins and minerals, will help your child’s body stay strong, make your child feel better, and ultimately give your child’s body the tools it needs to win the fight against cancer.  Specific benefits of a healthy diet include:

  • Greater tolerance for treatment and its negative side effects
  • Improves healing and recovery times after treatments
  • Boosts immune system to decrease the risk of infections during treatment
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Encourages and boosts your child’s ability to keep up with normal growth and development
  • Gives your child more strength and energy
  • Helps your child feel better overall

Why is eating so difficult for kids with cancer?

Unfortunately, cancer itself, as well as many treatment protocols, can make eating a challenging task for many children.  Both cancer and its treatment often undermine a child’s appetite, alter his or her tolerance for certain foods, and even change the way he or she processes nutrients.  Cancer treatments involving chemotherapy and radiation often bring unwelcome side effects impacting both food choices and the ability to eat, including: pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, mouth and throat pain, mouth sores, dry mouth, and thick saliva, just to name a few.  Helping your child overcome these difficulties in order to eat—and eat well—requires flexibility, patience, and creativity!

What can I do to help my child eat better during cancer treatment?

There is no right answer to this question, because every child is unique, with unique medical requirements, different sensitivities and cravings, and fundamentally, still a child with particular likes and dislikes, just like every other child!  There is no right solution to this difficult problem, and many families find they need to try multiple approaches, multiple times over the course of their child’s treatment.

  • Understand the critical elements of a healthy diet and your child’s unique dietary needs.
  • Be flexible, and don’t feel limited by “traditional” eating habits.
  • Remember that your child may require foods that are not traditionally considered “healthy”.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new foods, and new tactics.
  • Making eating fun whenever possible.
  • Keep your child hydrated.
  • Don’t make eating into a battle.

The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship and bereavement.  At the national level, the ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer.  At the grassroots level, the ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for families and learning resources for children in order to make the lives of children and their families a bit easier and perhaps even brighter during this difficult time.  Many of our resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer.

For additional information on our resources or information on how to obtain our resources free of charge, please visit our website at www.acco.org.

 

For more information about the American Childhood Cancer Organization and how we can help, call 855.858.2226 or visit:

Want To Read American Childhood Cancer Organization On Your Phone? Click the NoteStream logo: NoteStream