The charity was formed in August 2009 to help children under the age of five who are suffering from a brain tumour. The main focus of Camille’s Appeal is to look at ways to ensure that the long-term effects of treatment are minimised to allow the child to lead a normal life.
The cause of a brain tumour is still widely unknown and is generally put down to chance; the chance that a single cell could become abnormal and then divide over and over again. The cells can divide at varying rates from tumour to tumour, but they do grow and they are unlikely to stop growing without treatment.
There are many different types of brain tumour and many different grades of each. Each tumour type will have a treatment plan that is best suited to its attributes, with the normal range including chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.
Chemotherapy - There are many different types of chemotherapy drug that can be used to treat a brain tumour, depending on which type of tumour is being treated. Chemotherapy can cause issues to sight and hearing as well as other damage to vital organs. Chemotherapy also lowers the body’s immune system and leaves the child with a high risk of serious infection.
Surgery - We are fortunate in the United Kingdom to have some of the best Neurosurgeons working within the NHS. However, the risks during surgery remain very serious. The operation could involve some of the most intricate and hard to reach areas of the brain. The risks range from the very mild effect to the child’s intelligence to quite severe physical disabilities.
Radiotherapy - The treatment of radiotherapy involves firing laser beams at the tumour cells to kill them. This treatment is very effective but does pose as many risks to the child as surgery. With radiotherapy, it is difficult to ensure that only tumour cells get radiated and quite often healthy tissue is affected. There have been significant advances with this technology but we are still some way off having a major improvement in the United Kingdom.
There is an assumption that every child that suffers from a brain tumour will never reach their full potential. It is also proven that overworking a damaged brain after treatment will regenerate some of the areas that had been damaged, enabling the child to regain some of their lost abilities.
At present, there is not a joined up approach to rehabilitation in the United Kingdom. A consultant in London and a consultant in Manchester would complete assessments of a child using completely different approaches and neither of them would be able to understands the others assessment.
There is also a lack of rehabilitation provision within the NHS. The current care is outsourced to an external organisation that charge large fees to the NHS trust, some of which will not pay for the rehabilitation treatment. It is important to Camille’s Appeal that all children, no matter what background or what geographical area they come from, get the same high quality rehabilitation opportunities that are currently lacking within the NHS.