The Childhood Cancer Blog

The Childhood Cancer Blog

Welcome to The Childhood Cancer Blog
from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation!

When Yash was 8 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer predisposition syndrome called constitutional mismatch repair deficiency (CMMRD). Photo credit: Deanna Decker Photography

One of the very first questions families ask doctors after a childhood cancer diagnosis is, “What caused this disease?” 

Unlike adult cancers, which are more likely driven by lifestyle or environmental factors, childhood cancers are not typically linked to either of these factors. Their cause remains mostly unknown — however, recent studies have shown that between 10-15% of all childhood cancers do have an underlying cause: a genetic predisposition to develop cancer. 

Researchers know there are more than 100 different genetic syndromes that predispose children to develop... Read More

What if a specific type of diet could magnify the impact of a targeted childhood cancer treatment? That’s the question Dr. Palaniraja Thandapani had after his initial findings that T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) relied upon a specific amino acid, called valine, to grow. 

“That is an essential amino acid, and usually you acquire them from your food, it's not like your body can make them,” said Dr. Thandapani. “So that led to the idea that it can be targeted with the amount of availability of this amino acid in diet.”

This research was the genesis of Dr. Thandapani... Read More

Psychologist-in-training Katie Davis was amazed by the resilience of families during a childhood cancer diagnosis, but she also knew just how often mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were lurking beneath the surface.

PTSD is a condition in which persistent mental and emotional stress occurs as a result of witnessing or experiencing a distressing event. About one to two-thirds of siblings of children with cancer experience moderate to severe symptoms of cancer-related PTSD.

Katie knew she wanted to look at the effects of childhood cancer from a... Read More