In observance of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Cuddles Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing nutritional support to underprivileged children fighting cancer in India, released its latest report, “FoodHeals: Exploring Nutritional Aspects of Childhood Cancer.” Based on the analysis of over 7,600 beneficiaries from government and charity cancer hospitals across India, the report reveals that 61 per cent of children with cancer were undernourished at the time of diagnosis, with 40 per cent severely undernourished. Leukemias were the most prevalent childhood cancer type at 58.92 per cent, followed by solid cancers. Solid cancer cases showed a slightly higher percentage of undernourished patients at 67 per cent compared to haematological cases at 56 per cent.
The report underscores the critical role of nutritional therapy alongside multidisciplinary treatments like Surgery, Chemotherapy, and Radiation therapy. Poor nutritional status can lead to increased infection risks, treatment-related complications, and treatment abandonment.
Purnota Dutta Bahl, Founder and CEO, Cuddles Foundation, is hopeful that with increased awareness, government and public support, nutritional worries can be one less burden for families coping with cancer treatment.
She says, “We have been working to bridge the nutrition gap by counselling and providing nutrition aid to children with cancer at 40 government and charity hospitals in India through our FoodHeals Centres. We are extremely thankful to our partners at these government hospitals and charitable centres for providing the necessary infrastructure and support on which our success is based. I deeply believe that no child deserves to suffer a treatment without nutrition. Together, let us make unified efforts to tackle childhood cancer and shape a future where this disease hinders no child’s potential.”
According to the report, by prioritising comprehensive data collection, early detection, improved healthcare access, and nutrition support, India can work towards achieving the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC) and World Health Organization (WHO) target of a 60 per cent survival rate for childhood cancer patients worldwide by 2030. This collective effort can ensure a brighter and healthier future for children battling cancer in India.
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Published by: Express Healthcare
on Sept 28, 2023