Cancer Research Month – What we learned

by Anna Suarez @ 02.06.2017

Cancer Research Month – What we learned

In May Triumf team was celebrating Cancer Research Month and wants to express gratitude to all the wonderful researchers, clinicians and activists in the field of childhood cancer.

In May Triumf Gamification was celebrating Cancer Research Month and all the wonderful researchers, clinicians and activists contributing to finding more efficient treatments, addressing difficulties other than physical health and generally trying to find better and more personalized ways to approach cancer and improve lives of the patients. Every Friday in our Facebook posts we explored topics of childhood cancer research. As we have seen, amazing researchers from all over the world work on innovative solutions for each step a person may go through in regard to a disease.

First, it is essential to find a way for cancer prevention. Unfortunately, at the moment childhood cancer is impossible to prevent, because we do not know the exact reasons why cancers develop in children. However, thanks to such researchers as Dr. Joshua Schiffman and many of his colleagues, we might soon shed light on what can be done, what risk factors can be avoided, in order for no child to get ill with cancer.

We have not had a chance to cover the topic of early diagnosis, but this is another important direction of the research work. Generally, the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better is the prognosis. Therefore, detecting cancerous cells at their rudimentary state might save lives of thousands of children, which is exactly the mission of scientists in the laboratories and institutions all over the world.

While treatment for common type of cancers has been used for decades and validated in various studies, many childhood cancers belong to the group of rare types, because they are often the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation, e.g. a mistake in the replication of DNA in blood cells*. Thus, innovative methods are constantly needed, but there is a long bureaucratic process to clinical trials that may stand between the sick child and the hope for the cure. We have written about Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute – a wonderful organization that takes stance on speeding, cost-controlling and swiftly translating effective treatments into the clinical trials.

Undoubtedly, addressing physical symptoms and fighting cancerous cells is the first step of the treatment. However, psychological wellbeing of the child and of the family members is as important. It can have tremendous effect on the course of the treatment both in the positive and negative direction. Childhood cancer patients often experience anxiety, fears, depression, and many other emotional and behavioral problems. Luckily, many healthcare professionals acknowledge the special need for emotional support for children with cancer and their families. One effective approach of psychological help proved to be art-therapy. For example, we told about Tracy’s kids organization – one of the pioneer organizations which “helps young cancer patients and their families cope with the emotional stress and trauma of cancer and its treatment.”

When the treatment is successful (fortunately, this happens in up to 80% of the cases in developed countries), the child moves from the category of ‘child with cancer’ to ‘childhood cancer survivor’. After long painful treatments and stays in the hospital our little superheroes have to go through, they stay vulnerable to many infections and diseases. Therefore, researchers working in this field are doing incredible job in discovering what lifestyle changes promote long and healthy lives for childhood cancer survivors.

Triumf Gamification wants to express immense gratitude to researchers, healthcare professionals and all those who promote innovative solutions to improve lives of children with cancer and their families. We admire all the wonderful research work done in the field of childhood cancer, translate innovations into our mobile gamified solution, and hope that it will support little superheroes fighting big battles. Stay tuned! #triumfinme

  • Did you know that some genetic mutations can give you superpowers? Read a recent ScienceAlert post to learn more!