A study shared on the BBC website revealed that breastfeeding their own children later in life will benefit women who had survived cancer as a child.
A review that appears in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, and conducted by scientists at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, shared that breastfeeding can help neutralize the risk of suffering from obesity and weak bones, conditions that are associated with having suffered from cancer at some point in one’s life.
This information is significant, based on the fact that progress that has been made thus far in cancer biology and cancer therapy has resulted in an increase in the rates of cancer survival among children diagnosed with the disease.
Children who undergo cancer treatment, however, are at risk to suffer from health issues later in life, an occurrence that has been termed as “late effects”. One of the things that are adversely affected by undergoing cancer treatment as a child is bone mineralization; because of this, cancer survivors are more likely to suffer from brittle bones and early-onset osteoporosis.
According to the researchers, this risk can be countered if the cancer survivor breastfeeds, as the bone density of breastfeeding mothers who have weaned their children are usually higher than pre-pregnancy rates.
In another instance, it is shown that children who survived lymphocytic leukemia and testicular cancer, as well as those who underwent bone marrow transplants, are more prone to metabolic problems, including increased body mass index; breastfeeding can also help lower the risk for obesity.
The diagnosis, and the fact that Janis Ollson’s doctors in Canada said that they still did not have a plan on how to put her back together, was not seen as a dead end, though. A doctor in Toronto decided to consult with experts from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and said: “We’ll see if we can come up with a plan so you can see your children grow.”
Ollson and her family had to play the waiting game, and in the meantime, she focused on her new baby and her family. And then, she received a call asking her to come to the Mayo clinic for the surgery. Janis shared: “The plan was to remove the tumour, splitting my pelvis in half and removing the left half and left leg and lower spine.” The description of the procedure may cause other people’s heads to spin, but for Ollson, it was a ray of hope: “Somebody had a plan. It wasn’t hopeless.”
A social event was held by Ollson’s family and friends for her benefit, in order to raise money to cover their travel and living expenses for the duration of her 52-day stay at the Mayo Clinic. They were able to raise $20,000, and the surgeries were a success.
That was three years ago. Now, Ollson is officially cancer-free, although there is still a possibility that the cancer may come back.
She now uses a prosthetic pelvis and leg, a wheelchair, crutches or walker, depending on the activities that she will be doing. “I want to live life to the fullest,” Janis Ollson said. And by the looks of it, she will.
If I were to hear a doctor tell me that I needed to be cut in half and brought back together in order to survive, I would not know how to react. For young mom Janis Ollson of Manitoba, Canada, that was not some far-flung idea, but a reality. But instead of feeling self-pity, she decided to fight back – and survive. Her story is shared in a feature on the Winnipeg Free Press.
Janis was pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer that does not usually affect young women – chondrosarcoma. Before the diagnosis, she had been suffering from back pains for years.
The condition was treatable, but treatment would not be through chemotherapy and radiation. It involved having to cut her in half in order to get to the cancer, remove her leg, lower spine, as well as half of her pelvis. The thing is, sarcoma experts in Toronto did not know how to put her back together, and whether she will still have quality of life after the procedure.
Janis shared her reaction to the news: “I was in complete shock. I felt like I was going to throw up.” She was told that a young man who had a similar condition chose to leave the cancer as it is, until it killed him. At that time, however, Janis had just given birth to her second child, and giving up was simply “not an option.”
While a cancer survivor has already beaten the disease at a certain point in time, being cancer-free cannot be taken as a sign to give up on getting medical care. More than anything, cancer survivors need to be even more vigilant about their health. For some cancer survivors, however, the cost of getting this needed medical care is forcing them to put it off, according to a report by the Associated Press.
A study led by Kathryn Weaver of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, found that more than 2 million of 12 million adult cancer survivors in the United States did not undergo one or more of the medical services that they need. The study, which was released online on Monday on the medical journal Cancer of the American Cancer Society, is touted as the first of its kind that estimated how often current and former patients put off getting medical care due to issues related to cost.
Data for the study was gathered through national surveys involving more than 110,000 respondents, including 6,600 cancer survivors from 2003 through 2006. Among the things that patients had to put off are medical care in general (there was no distinction provided regarding the kind of care, and whether it was related to cancer or not), filling of prescriptions, dental care and mental health services because of financial woes.
These money issues are not just restricted to those who are uninsured; some cancer survivors also find it difficult to pay for co-pays, deductibles and care that are not covered by their health care plan.