Understanding Childhood Cancer Audiobook
It important to have the support of friends and family when you find out you or a family member has cancer. The Medikidz help Alex explain to his classmates how cancer affects the body, different types of cancer treatments and the possible side effects, in this audiobook version of our award-winning comic book Understanding Childhood Cancer.
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Rebecca: Hi there and welcome to a special audiobook installment of Jumo’s In My Words podcast series.
At Jumo, we produce everything from comic books that explain difficult medical conditions, to videos where families share practical insight and their stories of hope. Learning how to manage life after a diagnosis can be stressful and confusing, and we aim to make that a little easier. From epilepsy and Crohn’s disease to fractures, MRIs, and lots in between, we’ve got you covered.
Ok, let’s get started. Today’s story comes from our Understanding Childhood Cancer comic book. Listen in as the Medikidz superheroes help Alex explain cancer to his classmates.
Alex: So, as most of you know, I’m really into sports. I loved playing football and basketball. Still do! But I haven’t been able to play much recently. In fact, a lot of things have changed for me since I found out...that I have cancer.
Well, HAD. I’m better now...but I know a lot of you have been wondering what was up with me.
Even my best mates, who had visited me in the hospital all the time, have been confused and worried and I don’t blame them. I was confused and scared too, until some new friends of mine explained exactly what cancer is.
They helped me to understand, and now they’re going to help you! Everyone say hello to...the Medikidz!
Boy 1: Umm, did aliens just teleport into our classroom?
Girl 1: Yes! This is the best day ever!
Boy 2: They have a robot! In every movie ever the robot goes crazy! Is no one else worried about that?!
Pump: So cancer starts in a damaged cell, just like this one!
Girl 2: Awww, I don’t think it looks damaged, I think it’s cute!
Cancer Cell: If you think one of me is cute...then you’ll love a 100 of me!
Girl 2: What’s happening?
Alex: Well, in cancer, damaged cells in the body start to behave badly.
Pump: As you may have noticed, the cells start dividing out of control, making more and more damaged cells.
John: We noticed!
Girl 2: Luc, your brother has weird friends!
Cancer Cell: Mmm! Look at me, I’m on top of the world! Hello fishies!
Abacus: These badly behaved cells come together to form a lump called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant.
Chi: Cells in a benign tumor keep to themselves and don’t bother the other cells around them.
Cancer Cell: Shhh! Do you mind? We’re trying to read.
Gastro: Malignant tumors are cancer and cause trouble to cells around them. They can also spread to other parts of the body, causing trouble there too.
Cancer Cell: Books, books, books! Where’s the fun stuff? Books are boring.
Alex: Cancer can happen in different parts of the body.
Axon: It can occur in organs like the kidney or brain. It can also occur in the blood cells in the bone marrow.
Cancer Cell: Yeah, we get around!
Christian: Ummm, who gets cancer in the first place?
Cancer Cell: I’m going to braid your hair.
Girl 3: Do you know how to do that?
Cancer Cell: I know how to tie knots! Same thing, right?
Pump: Anyone can get cancer. Although it mainly occurs in adults, young people and children, and even babies, can get cancer too.
Cancer Cell: Hey, hands off the goods!
Girl 3: Thanks!
Pump: Most of the time the cause of childhood cancer is unknown, but research is being done to find out
more. We do know that you can’t catch cancer and that it is never anyone’s fault.
Cancer Cell: Ow! Didn’t your mother teach you not to throw living creatures?
You’re just jealous of my sweet moves!
You know an apple a day really won’t keep me away.
You can’t stop me!
Teacher: Umm, so how does one get rid of cancer?
Skindy: Great question! Well, thanks to medical research, doctors now have tons of different treatments available. The exact treatments depends on the type of cancer and where it is.
One treatment is...surgery!
Surgery can be used to cut out cancer. Depending on how big the cancer is, where it is, and whether it has spread, the doctors might be able to remove it. But not all cancers can be removed.
Cancer Cell: Uh oh.
Gastro: Chemotherapy, or chemo for short, uses medicines to destroy cancer cells.
Cancer Cell: I’m melting! Mellllllting!
Axon: Radiotherapy is another treatment. It uses powerful energy beams to kill the cancer cells.
Marco: Get ‘em, Alex!
Chi: Immunotherapy helps your immune system fight the cancer cells.
Cancer Cell: Great, just when the book was getting good I’m going to be blown up. So typical.
Alex: Sometimes a combination of treatments is used.
Pump: The medicines can also damage healthy cells, causing side effects like hair loss, nausea, and changes to your blood.
Cancer Cell: [gulp] I’m feeling a little nauseous myself.
Axon: Ah, the last cancer cell! A stem cell -or bone marrow- transplant might be needed for some children with cancer.
Cancer Cell: NOOOOOO!
Chi: A bone marrow transplant is when the body is restocked with good cells to replace destroyed cancer cells.
This boost of healthy cells means that you can get higher doses of chemotherapy that can increase the chance of destroying more cancer cells.
Bone Marrow: I’m here and ready to work!
Alex: The last of the cancer cells are gone.
Pump: Nice work!
Luc: That was so cool!
Skindy: Way to go, Alex!
Girl 3: The Medikidz are awesome!
Boy 3: This is one of the few times I’ve found school fun!
Alex: I know you all feel relieved now that those cancer cells are gone. It’s how I felt after my treatment too!
But even when treatment is finished, it’s not always super happy times.
Some kids, including me, had side effects from treatment, and these can make you feel less than terrific.
The Only good thing is I got to skip washing my hair for a while!
There’s also the scary feeling that the cancer might come back . I worry about that sometimes...but I’ve got a great hospital team that still gives me regular checks up…and there are researchers working hard to find better treatments with fewer side effects.
The best advice I can give is to let people know how you are feeling. Be sure to talk to your friends and family, and let them be there for you.
Remember, You are not alone!
Marco: Alex, mate, we knew you were sick, but didn’t know how sick until now.
John: Yeah, we’re really glad you’re feeling better.
Christian: And, know that, whatever you need, we are here!
Alex: You guys stuck by me when I was sick. You are real friends, and that’s all I need.
John: That’s the bell! School’s out!
Alex: Did I say all I needed was good friends? I meant good friends and video games! Come on!
Pump: Well, I think our work here is done.
Teacher: Wait, you can’t leave! My classroom is a mess!
Pump: Yes, but your students learned a lesson they will never forget. Soooo, you’re welcome!
Skindy: Get us out of here before she makes us clean!
Axon: I’m on it. Teleporting now.
Rebecca: Thanks for listening! We'll be adding new episodes all the time. We also take requests, so if you have a great topic, let us know! Who knows, we may even interview you! Visit us at JumoHealth.com.
In My Words is produced in New York City and distributed worldwide.
In My Words - A Jumo production.