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Children, Food and Cancer  

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14 September 2022 – In September, CANSA raises awareness of childhood cancer and the importance of support for children and parents affected specifically regarding food and diets. CANSA TLC partnered with B-well to produce a booklet, ‘Understanding a Child’s Dietary Needs When They are Diagnosed with Cancer’ for parents to better manage the dietary side effects their children experience while on cancer treatment.  

Anina Meiring, CANSA Service Manager: TLC explains, “Our CANSA TLC staff have seen first-hand the common side effects caused by cancer treatment, that children battle with. Parents often feel helpless in the face of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and other common side effects their children experience, which in turn affects children’s appetite and general well-being. The purpose is to help parents manage these side effects and to give them peace of mind. We’re so thankful to B-well for partnering with us on this project and to Megan Pentz-Kluyts for their guidance and input to create this user-friendly resource.”  

Megan Pentz-Kluyts, CANSA’s Nutrition and Dietetics consultant, also involved with the CANSA Seal of Recognition Programme says, “Nutritional care is an essential part of a successful paediatric or adult oncology treatment protocol. This booklet deals with coping tips for a variety of symptoms often experienced, including nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, a poor appetite, dealing with corticosteroid treatment, managing bacteria-free isolation diets and pathogens associated with food.”  

CANSA aims to promote a smart, balanced lifestyle using the CANSA Smart Choice Seal on products as a tool to assist the public to easily identify healthier products and make healthier, informed choices. The Smart Choice endorsement programme is part of an ongoing effort to reduce exposure to known carcinogens and other risk factors associated with cancer development. CANSA awarded B-well Canola oil a CANSA Smart Choice status as it lowers the risk of getting certain cancers.  

The printed booklets, sponsored by B-well, will be made available for free at all CANSA TLC facilities country-wide. An online version is also available on CANSA’s website.  

 “Children and loved ones also need emotional and psychological support and practical assistance which CANSA TLC provides through sharing cancer related information; support groups, assistance with prostheses, ports, broviacs, medical equipment, hospital / ward support programmes, food & basic essential parcels to families in need and accommodation for parents / guardians near treatment centres at TLC Lodges (Polokwane, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town),” continued Meiring.  

CANSA TLC also supports the child who has a parent or sibling that has been diagnosed with cancer who sometimes has become a caregiver. Parents / guardians needing support are encouraged to contact their local CANSA Care Centre and can also join the CANSA TLC Childhood Cancer Support Group on Facebook, where they can connect with others in a similar position.  

Meiring adds, “Our CANSA Tele Counselling service, available in seven languages and free of charge, is also available to parents / guardians, children with cancer or children whose loved ones have cancer. It’s important for us that parents and children know they need not face childhood cancer alone.”  

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email lbalona@cansa.org.za. Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

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