Leukemia: Zooming in on the most common of pediatric cancers

Learn to detect leukemia early on
Leukemia is the most common of pediatric cancers.

Cancer has positioned itself on the second spot next only to cardiovascular disease when it comes to the most common cause of death, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With that factual statistics concerning cancer almost bagging top one position, should be enough to cause an alarm. It’s about time people should be informed about the most common of childhood cancers which is “leukemia.”

According to a 2009 article written by Jose Maria Rivera, M.D. and colleagues, published in Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, “one out of every three children with cancer is diagnosed with leukemia.” But what should parents be doing to give their kids with leukemia a fighting chance? Well, in my humble opinion, they must learn to detect leukemia early on. That’s one of the best things parents could do to start with. It is every parent’s duty, especially in an era when leukemia tops all other cancers in children, to learn about the said disease plaguing kids.

DEFECTIVE BONE MARROW OR BLOOD

Cancer of the bone marrow or blood is called leukemia. The signs and symptoms of this particular type of cancer could be reflected in the way different blood cells are working. The white blood cells, as what we’re told in Biology class at school, serve as the body’s army fighting infection; the red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the different parts of the body, while the platelets, on the other hand, help in blood clotting.

Leukemia should be looked upon as something that would manifest as an infection, bleeding, or anemia. One of the most common symptoms of leukemia is fever. But that is not just ordinary fever though. It is a febrile condition that does not just go away despite adequate treatment. So when a child has been treated with antibiotics several times but his fever keeps coming back, there’s a possibility of leukemia that must be considered.

There are other signs as well to consider aside from a recurring fever, and these are paleness, large abdomen, enlargement of lymph nodes, and bruising in covered areas. It is common for young children to get bruises most of the time, but those with leukemia usually are getting these on their extremities. A quick blood test is necessary to detect leukemia early on.

WHAT CAUSES LEUKEMIA

Genetic and other factors could make a child prone to leukemia. If there’s a strong history of cancer in the family, then there’s a great possibility for such genetic abnormalities to transfer from one generation to another. Another factor is exposure to radiation and chemicals. Yes, even the very drugs that are used to treat cancer—the chemotherapy drugs—could lead to leukemia.

HOW TO TREAT LEUKEMIA

Eradicating all leukemia cells via chemotherapy is the initial phase of treatment. The next phase is all about gearing towards preventing the disease from involving the nervous system. The third and last phase is aimed at prolonging the disease-free interval.

TYPES OF LEUKEMIA

Comprising a majority of cases in children is the acute leukemia. The most common type is acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL, which is responsible for about three-fourths of all cases. Then there’s acute myeloblastic leukemia or AML which covers twenty percent of childhood leukemia cases.

Chronic leukemia, on the other hand, is relatively uncommon. For instance, chronic myeloid leukemia or CML is responsible for only three percent of pediatric cases. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia occurs in kids two to five years of age, while acute myeloblastic is more common in newborns and adolescents.

Give your children more brain power by using iodized salt everyday

GIVE YOUR CHILD MORE BRAIN POWER
In one of his chess matches against a computer.

Contrary to what many people have thought and believed about iodized salt as something that contains healing properties, it is not a medicine. But, rather, it is just ordinary salt fortified with a micronutrient called “iodine.” And, as we know, iodine is very important and needed in preventing health problems arising from the lack of it.

Iodine deficiency disorders or IDDs are a serious problem. Millions of people all over the world, especially those coming from underdeveloped and developing countries, are suffering from IDDs. This is due to the fact these people are consuming foods that are low in iodine or they simply just couldn’t afford buying foods that are rich in this particular micronutrient.

Iodine deficiency disorders could result to a person’s having many a defect like mental retardation, low IQ, deaf and mute, and stunted growth. A pregnant woman who lacks iodine in her diet is in danger of having a miscarriage, and giving birth to an abnormal baby. Also a pregnant woman who has goiter is at risk of having a miscarriage, or of giving birth to an abnormal baby.

Mental and growth retardation affect your children for life. Serious lack of iodine could even lead to death in young children. In adults, however, this could result for their having a goiter and other abnormalities.

So using iodized salt every single day is of the utmost importance. Iodized salt is especially fortified to contain as much iodine which you and your family need, not to mention the fact that it is cheaper than other iodine supplements.

There is a great need to use salt fortified with iodine every single day; whether in the kitchen, your daily cooking, or on the dining table for flavoring your family’s meals and snacks. Foods that are high in iodine like seaweed, salt water fish, sea shells, and other sea foods must also be eaten regularly.

The importance of learning and understanding the growth and developmental stages of children

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Nathaniel and his playmate Thata. Thata, by the way, is six years old while Nathaniel would be turning four this coming August.

Every child regardless of race, geographic location, and nationality go through developmental stages, some are faster than others, some more thoroughly than others. No child is like the other, not even identical twins are. Each child is different. Each child is unique. Each child is special.

Not every child could perform the behaviors indicated for each stage. Hence, parents must be guided with the idea of what their little ones may be capable of doing. Once the child’s stages of development is learned and fully understood by a parent, he or she would be able to teach the child appropriate skills in areas of development.

SIGNIFICANT ROLE OF PARENTS

It is important for parents to know what role they are playing with regards to their children’s growth and development. They must be aware of the fact that the child’s life, normal growth, and the good manners and right conduct they would acquire in the process is dependent on the kind and quality of care their parents could provide. These parents have, right in their hands, the power and the potential to protect their children’s lives and for what they could provide for their optimum development.

Good parenting starts from a happy marriage. It starts from the husband as an individual person and from the wife as an individual person as well. The husband must feel comfortable and good about his own self just as the wife also has to feel just the same. Parents who feel good about themselves would treat their children in the same way.

Feeling good and comfortable about one’s self is the road that leads to an improved self-esteem. Parents could build self-esteem through:

  • Taking responsibility for their behavior
  • Praising themselves for being and doing
  • Owning their feelings
  • Using positive labels for themselves

On the other hand, parents could as well develop positive self-esteem in their children through:

  • Using gentle, positive touch, kisses, and hugs
  • Praising kids for being and doing
  • Having fun with them
  • Using happy, pleasant expressions and tone of voice
  • Giving them opportunities for success
  • Using positive labels for kids

A RIGHT AND A DUTY

Parenting should be viewed upon as both a right and a duty. Parents must be informed of the rights and duties of children as well as that of their own based on the laws of their country of origin. The following are the universally recognized rights and duties every parent must, with respect to their children, observe by:

  • Giving their children love and affection, companionship and understanding, and advice and counsel
  • Keeping them in their company; supporting, educating, and instructing them
  • Providing them with moral and spiritual guidance
  • Furnishing their children with good, wholesome educational materials, and supervise their educational activities
  • Imposing discipline
  • Demanding obedience and respect
  • Enhancing, protecting, protecting, preserving and maintaining physical and mental health
  • Representing them in all matters affecting their interest

THE FORMATIVE YEARS

It is during the formative years that parents could develop abilities in their child necessary for acquiring other skills as he or she grows up. This is why parents who have learnt and understood the growth and developmental stages of their child could respond with appropriate experiences for the development of the capabilities of the child. Each time a parent provides love and nurturance starting at the early stages of life, is sensitive to the child’s needs and abilities, provides guidance and limits, that parent is enabling the child to become the best individual he or she could be.

Parents as shepherds: What are the similarities

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Spending quality time with my son.

Stories of good shepherds tending their flocks fascinate me. There was David of ancient Israel who would later on become king of his newly-established nation. He had killed many wolves and beasts which preyed on his flock of sheep in the field.

He was exposed to the harshest elements of nature so that he was described in the Bible as something ruddy in appearance and tough. He was fearless and ferocious when needed, as he tried to protect his flock from all forms of danger. Yet he was kind-hearted and a good man, obeying the law of his God.

A good parent could be likened to a good shepherd in many ways. They both have striking similarities. These are as follows:

  • Just as a good shepherd carefully examines each sheep to make sure that it is healthy, so is the parent wanting to know every little facet of his or her child’s life.
  • He knows he has a great responsibility raising his children according to some accepted standards.
  • He spends time with his children just as the shepherd spends time with his flock.
  • A good shepherd finds those were lost and bring them home. A good parent never gives up on his prodigal son. He’s praying and hoping that, one day, his lost son would find his way back home.
  • A good shepherd is always patient and calls on his flock and they would obey him. The same applies to the human parent.
  • A good parent knows that his child could go astray; that his child could slowly begin leaving the truth and his teachings. But like a good shepherd, a good parent is confident enough his child could appreciate all the efforts he’s making to help him.
  • To guide and to protect. A good parent helps to strengthen the good qualities his child has had. He guides his child all the way. He protects his child at all times.
  • A good shepherd is dependable, diligent, and courageous. He would risk his life to protect his flock. Aren’t these qualities could be found in a good parent also?

Why it is important for children to receive all the required vaccines for their age

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Nathaniel and his playmates.

According to the Centers for Disease Control or CDC, an estimated two million five hundred thousand deaths of children five years old and below were prevented by vaccines worldwide in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Immunization is the best preventive measure for people from contracting diseases and their complications. Many diseases of today are vaccine-preventable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) created the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in the year nineteen seventy-six. One of its aims is to provide universal access to relevant vaccines for all at risk, by which to include adolescents, older children, and adults. The concept known as “immunization” really helped in the reduction of worldwide deaths due to communicable diseases.

 Actually, children are not the only ones to benefit a lot from vaccination. It must include, as well, adults (by which to include the elderly), adolescents, and even parents regardless of age. Necessary vaccines must be given to some adult people, especially such as those against the flu, HPV, Hepatitis B, Varicella, Influenza, MMR, DPT, and Pneumococcal disease due to the fact that these diseases could affect anyone.

For those who still had no idea what it’s all about and how does it work, well, here’s a brief review. There are two types of vaccines: the live attenuated and the inactivated. Live attenuated vaccines are actually live bacteria or viruses that are modified or weakened so as to trigger an immune response similar to being infected by the real organism. While the inactivated vaccine, on the other hand, is one that undergoes chemical or thermal exposure so as to aid in deriving components needed to cause an immune response in the person being injected with it.

It is not advisable to inject live attenuated vaccines to individuals whose immune systems are weak as this may only make the situation worse. But they are advised to receive the inactivated version, instead. Although it is not as potent as the live vaccine, periodic administration or booster shots are needed so as to provide long-lasting immunity.

When vaccines are first introduced, millions have been spared from contagious diseases. Yet there are still quite a many of those who were not convinced of the cost-effectiveness of this type of prevention in contrast to how much one would actually be spending when getting treated for the disease. If people still are not convinced of the importance of preventive measures (also known by such a term as “prophylaxis”), then maybe they must consider studying how communicable diseases were affecting millions worldwide as compared when vaccines were already available.

In a world without vaccines, devastating outbreaks of small pox, polio and measles were common occurrences leading to deaths the world over, causing pandemics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Scientists worked hard in finding ways to actually prevent these deadly diseases. Yet only the small pox vaccine was developed during the eighteenth century. It was not until the later part of the 1900s that the first-ever vaccine laboratory was built. It was during that particular time also that more virus-caused diseases emerged.

Here’s a list of vaccines recommended in the EPI based on the child’s age:

When it should be given? What vaccines should be given? How many doses should be given?
Birth to before two weeks of age Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) One dose
  Hepatitis B First dose
Four weeks to six months of age Hepatitis B Second and third doses, at least four weeks apart
  DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) Firs dose: two months

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six months

  Oral Polio Vaccine/Inactivated Polio Vaccine First dose: six to eight weeks

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six to eighteen months

  Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib) First dose: two months

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six months

  Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) First dose: two months

Second dose: four months

Third dose: six months

  Rotavirus vaccine Number of doses depends on types of vaccine but should be given between two to six months.
  Influenza vaccine Given yearly starting six months onwards
Nine months Measles First dose: nine months

Second dose: fifteen to eighteen months

Twelve months onwards Hepatitis A Two doses at twelve to twenty three months, six to eighteen months apart
  DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) Booster doses at fifteen to eighteen weeks and four to six years
  Varicella (Chicken pox) First dose: twelve to fifteen months

Second dose: four to six years

  Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) First dose: twelve to forty-seven months

Second dose: fifteen months to twelve years

  Tetanus vaccine Booster dose should be given every ten years or five years if at high risk
  Typhoid vaccine First dose: two years old

Booster every two to three years

  Meningococcal vaccine Given at least two years old for those at high risk
  Human Papilloma Virus vaccine First dose at eleven to twelve years old, with next two doses after one to two months and six months after the first dose.
  Rabies vaccine Should be given in areas with high incidence of rabies at zero, seven, twenty-one, and twenty-eight days.

 

The day Jesus gathered the little ones to his arms

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Nathaniel poses with one of the flowers that grows in our backyard.

Children have always had a special place in Jesus Christ’s heart. He was drawn into accepting the very qualities a child possessed: open, pure love, and childish sympathy. For him, these little ones are the stark contrast to the crafty and hypocritical men who came to oppress and refute with his teachings.

But Jesus also captivated the heart of these young souls. Wherever he went, during his short ministry in this world, children would have no doubt getting attracted to his magnetic personality.

It has been made clear that kids are the ones who are most susceptible to the teachings of the gospel. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,” said Jesus, “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

It was an invitation to the parents as well to lead up their little ones close to him so he could bless them.

The teachings that Christ wanted his followers to absorb and follow should also be given and extended to the little ones. When these young minds received the good news, it would eventually become a window for them to see the beauty of the principles of heaven.

As parents, we are called to look upon our kids as younger members of the Lord’s family. There must be this commitment to educate these young souls for his kingdom. The moment we teach our kids to obey us because we love them, we are teaching them the first lessons in the Christian life.

The love we had for our children is the representation of the love of Christ and when they trust and obey us they’re learning to obey and trust the Lord. Jesus was the pattern for children. He was also the perfect father’s example.

The way we train our children should be in accordance with the lessons God has given in nature. We should encourage them to express their love toward God and toward one another. We should be teaching them to see Christ in nature by taking them out into the open air, in the fields and in the sea, under the noble trees, and into the garden where the beautiful flowers bloom. We must show them how grateful and appreciative we are in all the wonderful works of creation and seeing such as an expression of God’s love.

We should win their confidence in us as followers of Christ and once we did, it would be easy teaching them of the great love wherewith our Savior has loved us. We must all come to Jesus with our perplexities and we would sure find grace sufficient enough to help us in the management of our children.

Four tips on how to make your child trust you for support, for love, and for care

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FATHER AND SON. Taken when my Nathaniel was only one year and seven months old.

Children are, naturally and in fact, trusting. What you do, as a parent, however, could either reinforce that trust or break it down. One surefire way to get trust from anyone is by earning it.

You could earn the trust of someone by listening and understanding him or her without judgement. You could earn trust by being genuine in your responses, when you verify your understanding by asking questions. You earn trust by doing exactly what you say you would do.

Trust is one of the most important factors in a successful relationship. In the parent-child relationship, parents earn trust by making their child feeling safe and secure when they focus on him or her. But there a lot of ways earning it. Allow me to share to you four, yes, just four but important tips on how to make your children trust you for support, for love, and for care:

LISTEN TO THEM

Of course, you really have to. But it’s not just all about listening to them when they want to tell you what stories they could say or when they want you to know all the details of their day. You also have to hear, most importantly, to what your kids are not saying.

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QUALITY TIME. Spending a happy moment with my son.

Once you have an idea what it is your child could not say directly or open up to you, then it’s your turn to break the ice and carry him into such a conversation that would make him or her feel comfortable to say what she or he is afraid of saying or sharing in the first place. You must be cordial doing it, yes, just like a friend sharing something to a confidante. Chances are if you don’t have ears to listen to what they say, you would be missing the opportunity of learning about and teaching them. And when that happens, there’s not much point in talking to them at all in the first place.

ALWAYS MAKE THEM FEEL COMFORTABLE WHEN THEY’RE WITH YOU

Most children, especially when they have something negative they want to open up to their parents for help, are afraid they would be creating an even bigger problem by doing so. This is the perfect time for you, as a parent, to prove you could be trusted. Take time to listen to their problems or encourage them to speak up and offer what best solution you had without losing your cool.POPSY03.jpg

SHOW THEM YOU’RE INTERESTED

This is supposed to be simple and easy task yet most parents find it to be just as hard. You had to make sure your kids could see it in you, within you, and right through you, about your genuine interest in them and in what they do. Interact with them, recognize and respect their feelings, and teach them how to relate to you.

BE THE BRIDGE THAT GAPS

Be updated. Your children are in a different age and time, with different experiences, needs, environment, problems, and challenges than what you were having in your own childhood. You are the one who should be adjusting to them. If it is going to be something that summons you to be current and updated with, for example, information and technologies, then so be it.

Seven things most fathers wish their partners understood them more

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This picture was taken three years ago.

While many wives, with good reason, wish their men to sympathize more with their situation, on the other side of the road is also often true; that there are dads as well who wish women understood about them and their needs. But how could one get more understanding and consideration from someone who also crave for the same in the first place? Well, the best way to do it, in my humble opinion, is for either of the couple to actually give it to the other.

But let’s take a closer look at exploring empathy for a dad. It’s going to suggest, from which to draw on a conversation with dads in general, how it would be for a man to be a parent. Here are seven things in which most fathers wish their partners understood them more. Take note that this is only a generalization.

FATHERS NEED TO BE PRAISED FOR THEIR SKILLS

A dad, just like his beloved wife, loves the child they have made together so much. He has many of the same feelings his wife may be having, like joy when the baby first curls his or her tiny fingers around one of his own. Most dads, who spend less time with their kids than their wives do, may feel less sure of their skills.

Wives should not make their husbands feeling awkward or inept. They must give their husbands a sense of assurance and praise them for their skills or for whatever they’re all best at doing. Husbands must be given time to get involve as they try to pick up their wives’ underlying attitude about their parenting skills.

FATHERS NEED TO BE ACCEPTED FOR WHO THEY ARE

Dads are more than awed at their partners’ ability to make a baby and deeply grateful that they have given them a child. These dads probably appreciate their spouses’ sacrifices more than they could express in words.

But a dad could also feel worried by any fatigue, depression, or other health problems that have developed since his woman became a mother. A mom should welcome whatever suggestions her man is offering like getting more exercise or using more child care. There’s no way for a wife to get irritated for that. Instead, she must accept him for who he is and for the good that he can do.

DADS NEED SOME SPACE

Yes, dads, like most men, need some space so they could do the things that are making them feel good. Allow them to do what they like for a given time. Be supportive.

DADS NEED TO BE SIMPLY UNDERSTOOD

Wives couldn’t make their husbands understand them, but they could try to understand their husbands. The ball is in the wife’s hands and it’s all up to her.

A good wife should be asking her man to describe his feelings as a father. Or she could simply be observing him sans any assumptions, wondering how it feels to be a husband deep down inside. Sure, it might take a conscious decision for a wife in trying to understand her man but, once she did, her husband would notice her interest, appreciate it, and be more empathic with her.

DADS NEED THEIR LOVERS’ ATTENTION

A father is more than capable of loving his child incredibly, but his relationship with his wife is still a priority, not merely a framework for raising kids. A good wife should not make his husband to feel keenly the shift in her attention, affection, energy, and love from him to their child.

DADS NEED A COACH OR A TEAMMATE OUT OF THEIR WIVES

Real men, as tough as they are, sometimes cry, get tired, and feel sad. A good wife should make her man to feel intimately safe with her. But he needs to know, most importantly, that his failure would be met with encouragement and loving arms.

DADS NEED TO BE LIFTED UP

A good wife should be doing her best in building up her man by letting him know or reminding him always that he is a good breadwinner, husband, family man, lover, provider, protector, and a friend. He needs reassurance that he is loved, cared for, and pampered.