Monthly Archives: November 2009

Cancer detecting mouthwash

Source: Ivanhoe News
Author: Staff

MIAMI (Ivanhoe Newswire) — For a patient with head and neck cancer, the cure rate is only 30 percent. That’s because the disease is often detected in the late stages. Now catching the cancer earlier may be as simple as gargling and spitting in a cup.  A new mouthwash may be able to see what doctors can’t.

Edie Acosta calls them her angels … the niece and nephew who gave her the courage to fight cancer.

“They cut from here, all the way down here,” Acosta told Ivanhoe.

On her neck is the scar where a stage IV tumor was removed less than a year ago.

“It seemed bigger and bigger ’til it got to the size of a fist, a man’s fist, and I couldn’t even move my neck,” Acosta said. “You feel like a little bird whose wings got cut and you can’t fly anymore. I just, I thought I was really gonna die.”

For patients like Acosta, late stage diagnosis makes treating neck cancer more difficult. Researchers developed a quick, inexpensive mouthwash to detect head and neck cancers earlier.

The patient rinses with the saline mouthwash. After they spit it out, doctors add antibodies that identify molecules involved with cancer. In about 48 hours, if there’s cancer detected in the saliva, the molecules show up in color.

“We’ve found that these molecules show up differently in the oral rinses from patients that have cancer compared to patients that don’t have cancer,” Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami, told Ivanhoe.

In a study that included 102 head and neck cancer patients and 69 patients with benign disease, the oral rinse distinguished cancer from benign disease nearly 90 percent of the time.

For Acosta, 30 years of smoking has taken its toll. She hopes this new test helps others catch the cancer before it’s too late.

“I think that would be a miracle,” she said.

If head and neck cancer is caught early, doctors say they could be able to cure at least 80 percent of cases. They’re working on a version of the mouthwash that can be used as an over-the-counter test or administered at community health centers.

November, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

Holiday giving: How to choose a charity

Source: etaiwannews.com
Author: Jeremiah A. Hall


In June 2006, when Wendy Maholic learned that her husband, a master sergeant, had been killed in Afghanistan, her thoughts turned to her 10-year-old son. As she struggled with her grief, she wondered how to help fill the hole left by the loss of his father.

As months passed, Mrs. Maholic learned of a small, up-and-coming charity in Colorado called Knights of Heroes, which provides free, all-inclusive summer camps and long-term mentoring programs for sons of fallen soldiers.

A week of fishing, canoeing, and horseback riding with other children and adult male role models – especially ones who ostensibly knew what Andrew was going through – seemed perfect, but Maholic was apprehensive. The camp was located in Colorado Springs, Colo. She and Andrew were in Fort Bragg, N.C. No one in her immediate circle of friends and family had heard of the organization.

It seemed promising. The camp even offered to arrange for mothers and sisters to be lodged nearby during the session. But she needed more. Like many parents in search of advice, she went online and discovered what she needed – and a new way to evaluate charities.

With the explosion of social networking and user-generated online content, a new crop of websites promises to use similar techniques to help donors, volunteers, and clients assess nonprofits. In some, reviewers are asked to provide commentary on their personal experiences; others poll constituents. It’s not fail-safe. But the approach arms donors with information that goes beyond the financial information provided by traditional charity-rating services. It also exposes charities to far greater scrutiny, which some nonprofits have struggled to warm up to.

“It gives you a great feel for what [the experience] is really like,” says Maholic, who used a service called GreatNonprofits to check out the charity. “I really got the sense that [Knights of Heroes] would treat them like their own [children].”

Her son, Andrew, has attended two camps with the charity and now receives weekly calls from his mentor. “Andrew’s mentor can really relate to him,” she adds. “He’s been there and knows that sometimes you don’t have to say anything.”

Previously, donors have relied heavily on GuideStar and other firms that decipher financial data required by the Internal Revenue Service. “While financial data certainly has its place, donors and volunteers should use their heart and their head in making decisions,” says Perla Ni, chief executive officer of GreatNonprofits, based in Palo Alto, Calif. “No one has a better perspective on a charity than those who experience it.”

GreatNonprofits was conceived in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. “We were looking for local nonprofits that were helping local residents of Biloxi, Miss., but found that information was hard to come by,” recalls Ni, who was the publisher of Stanford Social Innovation Review at the time. “So we sent someone to walk the streets and ask residents which nonprofits were doing the best work.” That basic idea of gathering opinions from those served became the basis of GreatNonprofits. Since then, the service has grown to rate some 2,000 charities. Some 50,000 visitors view the site each month, according to the group.

Some users are enthusiastic. “It’s not just about ratio and numbers; it’s whether a charity is vibrant and useful to the community,” says Sean Stannard-Stockton, CEO of Tactical Philanthropy Advisors, which assists foundations and wealthy donors. He regularly consults websites like Yelp! and GreatNonprofits before making recommendations.

At least one established ratings group is jumping on the bandwagon. Charity Navigator, which has evaluated charities since 2001 based primarily on financial data, is planning to revamp its ratings system. Soon the service will incorporate the human perspective on a nonprofit’s effectiveness by surveying its constituents and presenting those findings along with the financial performance.

“There’s a new movement within nonprofits to focus on results,” says Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator. “How do we know that you’re not doing more harm than good?”

The change is provoking criticism from some charities, Berger concedes. They ask: ” ‘Are you mad? We are just so unique,’ ” he recalls. But he argues that such sentiments are inexcusable and that measuring results might actually help nonprofits with foundations and donors. “Being able to demonstrate how you’ve helped will become increasingly important,” Berger says. “Many foundations are requiring that nonprofits measure their results to qualify for grants.” Some nonprofits are apprehensive, Ni agrees. “They’re afraid of airing their dirty laundry in public. But if people are going to say something negative, you can always take that feedback and make changes.”

But how reliable are those user reviews, especially when a charity is dealing with difficult clients? For example: Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco provides job training for substance abusers, ex-convicts, and the homeless. When one Delancey Street client posted a negative review on GreatNonprofits, calling into question the group’s long-term results, spokeswoman Carol Kizziah was incensed. “I personally found the reviews to be slanderous,” she says. “I just don’t know how they could give a voice to a drug addict.”

Those are exactly the people who need to be heard, Ni counters. “We’re giving a voice to the people that the charity serves. We always give nonprofits the opportunity to counter reviews.”

“There’s no question that donors want reliable information,” says Berger of Charity Navigator. “Getting that information is certainly going to be complex and difficult, but it will happen.”

In the end, these new ratings tools will prove to be a net positive for charities and those they serve, says Brian Hill, executive director of The Oral Cancer Foundation in Newport Beach, Calif. “Either you produce or you don’t. It’s easy to lose sight of the people you serve, but seeing people’s comments really helps you stay focused and efficient.”

Hill adds that being highly rated on GreatNonprofits has helped by significantly increasing his base of donors. “Money really does flow from the message boards. If it wasn’t for the Internet, The Oral Cancer Foundation wouldn’t be anywhere,” he says.

Trusting the charity was everything to Maholic, who pondered letting her only child travel more than 1,000 miles to the Knights of Heroes program – even though she’d be in the state while he was. “I had a gut feeling that they’d be good, but hearing from others made it a lot easier to be away from Andrew,” she says.

Colleen Zenk Pinter: Cancer survivor has much to be thankful for this year

Source: Acorn Online
Author: Susan Wolf

Thanksgiving will be more than a pleasant holiday gathering with family and friends this year for Colleen Zenk Pinter. It will be a celebration of life, of being thankful for those closest to her.

Ms. Zenk Pinter approaches this Thanksgiving cancer-free after a long and often painful battle with oral cancer. Her journey has been fraught with setbacks, but she has emerged as a formidable opponent, one who now uses her celebrity to educate others about oral cancer.

A two-time Emmy Award nominee, Colleen Zenk Pinter has played the character of Barbara Ryan since 1978 on the CBS daytime drama As the World Turns. Her own world was turned upside down in March 2007 when her oral cancer was diagnosed. A lesion under her tongue “that didn’t even look like cancer” was, in fact, cancer.

Somehow she got through her daughter Georgia’s 14th birthday party, telling no one, not even her husband, actor Mark Pinter, who was out of town. Finally, the next day, she gave the news to her husband and mother and then went to see Jen Wastrom, a woman she affectionately calls the “ring leader” of her posse of friends. Eventually “the posse” was notified and thesupport that has come to mean so much to Ms. Zenk Pinter immediately materialized.

After a second opinion from Dr. Clarence Sasaki of Yale-New Haven Hospital on how best to treat her cancer, Ms. Zenk Pinter put herself into his hands. He performed a partial glossectomy and resection, removing the right side of her tongue while leaving the taste buds, and then rebuilding her entire tongue.

“The surgery was pretty gruesome. I got through the first couple of weeks and then went back and learned that next was radiation,” Ms. Zenk Pinter recalled.

Brachytherapy, which places the radiation inside the area of the tumor, was used. Twenty radioactive rods were implanted in Ms. Zenk Pinter’s tongue. Her tongue eventually rejected seven of them and two of them broke through, burning her throat. A third surgery replanted them with only a local anesthetic since Ms. Zenk Pinter had already had so much anesthesia.

But three weeks later, Ms. Zenk Pinter, who is also a talented singer and dancer, her husband and two of what she calls “her two acting kids,” Dylan and Kelsey, were scheduled to perform in Sondheim’s Follies in Chicago. Some of her friends tried to discourage her from performing. Ms. Wastrom was not one of them. She recalled how happy her friend was when trying on her gown for Follies.

A voice

Immediately after her diagnosis and before her second opinion, and against advice, Ms. Zenk Pinter got on the Web, where she found the Oral Cancer Foundation (oralcancerfoundation.org) to learn more about the disease. “I had no risk factor for this ‘old man’s cancer’,” she said, but her first doctor said hers was probably due to human papilloma virus (HPV), which is most often associated with cervical cancer.

Because of her desire to educate others, Ms. Zenk Pinter said she decided “to be as vocal as I could possibly be… Maybe I have this [cancer] because this disease needs a voice.” She offered her “voice” to Brian Hill, executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation and a Stage 4 oral cancer survivor. “He said, ‘Get well first, and then decide’.”

After Follies, she told Mr. Hill that she was ready and a marketing plan was put in place. She has partnered with the Oral Cancer Foundation, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to get the word out about oral cancer, and has made appearances on CBS and CNN to talk about it.

Ms. Zenk Pinter also went to the producer of As the World Turns and asked if he could write oral cancer into her story line. She put him in touch with the Oral Cancer Foundation and six months later, her character was diagnosed with cancer.

Many of Ms. Zenk Pinter’s fans had noticed a difference in her speech after her surgeries and were concerned she had had a stroke. She remembers how difficult it was to enunciate.

“I had to completely learn to respeak,” she said, adding she couldn’t put consonants together. Her tongue still swells each night, so it is more difficult to speak in the morning. And don’t ask her to say “fast break” too quickly. The “st-br” combination is still difficult.

While Ms. Zenk Pinter continued to live a full life, she was well aware there is a 50% two-year return rate on her cancer. “Mine was back in 18 months,” she said. “The survival rates are not that great and the quality of life can be horrendous, but I’ve been lucky.”

A year ago September, Ms. Zenk Pinter found a lump under her jaw line — two weeks after a clear PET scan. She knew the results of her biopsy two days before Thanksgiving in 2008, and the day after Thanksgiving, instead of shopping on Black Friday, she underwent a neck dissection, an ear to chin surgery to remove 21 additional lymph nodes.

Posse arrives

When her husband had to go back to L.A. after Thanksgiving, it was her posse of friends who took care of her. “This is a group of girls I couldn’t live my life without,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said.

During the radiation she underwent every day for five weeks, she had to wear a mask molded to her face and was strapped to a table while the radiation was being directed to her neck. Her day started with driving Georgia to Barlow and “a posse member of the day” driving her to Yale-New Haven Hospital and then home. She’d spend the rest of the day sleeping and knitting, making cuffs of mohair and cashmere or bamboo or merino wool for her posse. The cuffs were knitted with five needles and it took about 14 hours to make each pair of cuffs— seven pairs were placed on her mantel one by one.

After radiation was finished, Ms. Wastrom dragged her to yoga class. “I was so weak, I was trying to do something physical to get myself back together,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said. “All I did was physically shake during those first classes,” she added. She spent four months trying to get her body back in shape for a project that didn’t work out, but her strength has returned.

Ms. Zenk Pinter said Ms. Wastrom “is like a sister to me. I don’t know what I’d do without her. She is always there. I’ve always been very fortunate to have wonderful friends, most of them lifelong.” Her friends come from different backgrounds, she said, including Susie Bedsow Horgan, an Emmy-award winning writer and producer, the only person in Ms. Zenk Pinter’s inner circle who is in the entertainment business.

Friend Jeanne Billett of Redding is described as her “pillar of strength,” the one who was her advocate with the oncologists and doctors and who is a self-described women’s rights advocate. The Pinters and the Billetts will once again spend this Thanksgiving together, as they have all of the holidays for years.

Then there is Mary Redding of Marblehead, Mass., a lifelong friend, “who drops everything to jump on I-84 on a moment’s notice to come down and help.” Another lifelong friend, Lindy Lewis Webbe, “had dropped out of the sky but we reconnected” when she moved to Easton in 2008,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said. “She’s there for me at a moment’s notice.”

“My posse from different parts of my life are now all meshed with each other,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said. “They all check up with each other to see if I’m OK.

“I’ll be giving thanks not only for having my good health back, but also for being surrounded by friends I adore, who have taken care of me and supported me and fed me and my children, and took me where I needed to be taken. I want to be around to enjoy the company of all my great friends in my old age.”

Ms. Zenk Pinter said she is “surrounded by love” here and remarked about the outpouring of cards and letters she has received. Acquaintances have given her many gifts, including “beautiful yarn. How thoughtful that is — that they know this keeps me busy and makes me happy in so many ways.”

Many others, she added, helped take care of her children when her husband was out of town.

There are six children in what Ms. Zenk Pinter calls her “blended” family (his, hers and their children). Ms. Zenk Pinter said the children were raised as a family. “No one ever referred to the other as a half or step. There is such love and support with these kids.”

Siri, 28, is in California and the mother of Ms. Zenk Pinter’s first grandchild, Jackson James. Kelsey, 25, is in New York City where she is an aspiring actor. The twins, Dylan and Hannah, are 24 years old. Dylan is also an actor in New York and Hannah is a casting director for NBC in Los Angeles. Morgan, 19, is a sophomore at Lafayette College where, to his mom’s delight, he was named the Lafayette College Greek God of 2009. Georgia, 16, is a Joel Barlow High School junior and a member of the school’s varsity volleyball team. The Falcons “were the Cinderella story of high school this volleyball year,” said Ms. Zenk Pinter. The team was the runner-up in the State Class M Championship this past weekend.

“She’s a rabid volleyball fan,” Ms. Wastrom said about her friend.

“I’ve been lucky my schedule has allowed me to only miss two games,” Ms. Zenk Pinter added.

Another battle

While Ms. Zenk Pinter was going through her own battle with cancer, she found out her mother, Ruth Zenk, was diagnosed with Stage 4 uterine cancer. That was in June 2008. “We had our mother and daughter oncology days,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said. She happily reports her mother is now cancer-free.

With her cancer behind her, Ms. Zenk Pinter is enjoying “the outrageous story line” for her on As the World Turns. She is now involved with a much younger guy. “It’s so much fun for me. It’s being played for comedy,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said.

She was voted best actress in Soap Opera Digest in every issue for the last four months and also named performer of the week in the Nov. 17 issue. She was named one of TV Guide’s “Sexy and Beautiful People” for 2009.

For Ms. Zenk Pinter, she is grateful for the support she has received from the producers of As the World Turns. “They didn’t abandon me, and now they have put me front and center again. I appreciate this more than when I was younger, but I appreciate everything more now.”

Ms. Zenk Pinter has learned “not to sweat the small stuff. It’s not important. What is important is going to my daughter’s volleyball games, helping out my friends when they need help — we are all there for each other, and that’s what counts.”

“A castmate said, ‘You’re awake now,’ and I am. I am not sleeping on the job anymore,” said Ms. Zenk Pinter. “At this point I just want to be with my kids and enjoy and not worry… I just want to enjoy those around me and hold them close, and to give thanks.”

Colleen Zenk Pinter of Redding, an actor who stars as Barbara Ryan on As the World Turns, has partnered with the Oral Cancer Foundation, Yale New-Haven Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to be a spokesperson for oral cancer. Ms. Pinter was diagnosed with oral cancer in March 2007 and is now cancer-free.

“I had no risk factors for this ‘old man’s cancer,’ she said, but her doctors said hers was probably due to human papilloma virus (HPV), which is most often associated with cervical cancer.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the country, and it is estimated that about 70% of American men and women will be infected at some point in their lives.

According to Ms. Zenk Pinter, a growing number of women are being diagnosed with oral cancer, from one in 10 to now a 50-50 split. “The difference is HPV,” she said.

She is a proponent of the Gardasil® vaccine against HPV for both girls and boys. It doesn’t help if only half of the population (girls) is being vaccinated. Why boys? “Simple. HPV is sexually transmitted.”

Physicians and researchers advocate that the vaccine be given to both sexes, Ms. Zenk Pinter said.

During her speech at New York University School of Dentistry graduation, where she received the 2009 Harry S. Strusser Memorial Award for Public Service and Outstanding Contributions to Public Health, Ms. Zenk Pinter implored the graduating doctors and surgeons to thoroughly check their patients for oral cancer at every cleaning. “If it is caught early,” she said, “it is highly treatable.”

Her message, Ms. Zenk Pinter said, is, “Make sure you have a thorough cancer screening every time you see your dentist.”

She has made appearances on CBS and CNN and major women’s magazines to talk about oral cancer early detection. She was honored in 2008 by Hollywood, Health and Society at USC for her oral cancer storyline on As the World Turns. The society is a watchdog group that assesses medical storytelling in film and television.

Ms. Zenk Pinter recently spoke at the American Cancer Society luncheon in Westport and will be speaking at the first Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Phoenix, Ariz., in January. “Wherever they need me, I will go,” she said.

She has been nominated for the Gilda Radner Courage Award for 2010, which is given to a cancer survivor who has made an impact in the field. “I am very humbled and honored,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said.

Nonprofits brace for slowdown in giving

Source: The Wall Street Journal
Author: Mike Spector

Officials at charities are trying to devise creative ways to stand out. They are making urgent appeals through direct-mail and email campaigns and taking to the airwaves. Charities also are gearing up to tap their wealthy board members and other well-off supporters for extra cash. If they fail, charities may have to cut staff or seek loans.

At Covenant House New York, the nation’s largest adolescent-care agency, which serves homeless, runaway and at-risk youths, board members convened Thursday and discussed a possible “doomsday” scenario in case they lose upwards of 40% of their income, said Georgia Boothe, the nonprofit’s associate executive director. The charity needs to raise about $3 million through direct mail in December, she said, adding, “We’re worried.” Direct-mail giving in July was off 15%, she said.

New York-based City Harvest, which feeds the hungry and has counted Lehman among its top five corporate donors, had set a goal of raising $5.7 million between November and January and $3 million in December alone. Much of that was expected to come from Wall Street bonuses.

“Things have changed drastically in the last week or two,” said executive director Jilly Stephens, who said the need for her group’s services is rising. “We’re heading into a period of the unknown.”

Still, she said she was encouraged that about 525 people turned out for the group’s first silent auction of photographs on Thursday night. The event raised about $217,000.

Gordon J. Campbell, president and chief executive of the United Way of New York City, said he began working on Thursday with other United Way officials in the New York area to arrange a town hall meeting on the future of nonprofits.

“There will be fewer dollars coming in the doors,” he said. “There needs to be thought given to strategic alliances, partnerships, back office consolidation, mergers and acquisitions. In many ways, it’s a variation on what’s going on Wall Street.”

The collapse of corporate balance sheets, along with strained household budgets, could start cutting into the more-than-$300 billion national charitable-giving pie. U.S. charitable donations only grew by 1% adjusted for inflation in 2007, according to the Giving USA Foundation. That was before the worst of the housing correction and the current Wall Street crisis.

In a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy survey of 77 businesses, 50 said they expected giving to remain flat in 2008. U.S. companies donated an average of 0.8% of their pretax profits in 2007, down from 1.4% in 2004, according to Mark Shamley, president of the Association of Corporate Contribution Professionals in Mount Pleasant, S.C. “Companies are looking to cut expenditures across” the board “and corporate giving is going to be part of that,” he said.

Worse for charities, the height of the financial crisis is hitting just before the end of the year, when nonprofits typically bring in the largest amount of revenue as Americans open their wallets around the holidays.

“It’s a real challenge,” said Melissa Berman, president and chief executive of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “For many charities, half of their income or more can come in during the final two months of the year.”

Working in Support of Education, a New York-based charity that provides financial literacy certification tests and materials to high schools nationwide, gets the bulk of its donations from financial institutions, said its president, Phyllis Frankfort. Getting funding for next year “is going to be a difficult challenge,” she said.

The American Red Cross, one of the nation’s largest and most recognizable charities with annual revenue of about $3 billion, took the extraordinary step on Sept. 10 of asking Congress for a $150 million loan to pay for responses to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. In addition to the loan request, the Red Cross has flashed appeals for donations during National Football League games.

A Red Cross spokesman said lawmakers haven’t decided whether to make the loan. As of Sept. 10, the Red Cross had only raised $5 million for Gustav, according to the loan-request letter sent by CEO Gail McGovern to congressional leaders. Red Cross hurricane efforts in total could cost as much as $130 million this year, a spokesman said.

“The response thus far by the American Red Cross to back-to-back hurricanes Gustav and Ike is the largest relief effort we have mounted since Hurricane Katrina,” Ms. McGovern wrote in her letter to lawmakers. She also said Gustav donations had dropped from $1.4 million in one day to just $70,000 a day.

In a recent interview, Jeffrey Towers, the Red Cross’s newly hired fund-raising chief said the charity is up against “the most troubled economy I’ve faced in my 25-year fund-raising career.”

—Francine Schwadel contributed to this article.

Write to Mike Spector at mike.spector@wsj.com and Shelly Banjo at shelly.banjo@wsj.com

Corrections and Amplifications:

The American Red Cross recently asked Congress for a $150 million appropriation. This article incorrectly said the Red Cross requested a loan.

November, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

A 25-year analysis of veterans treated for tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma

Source: Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, November 1, 2009; 135(11)
Authors: JJ Jaber et al.

Objective:
To determine the recurrence and survival outcome based on treatment date, type of treatment, stage of disease, and comorbidity and the recurrence and survival differences based on smoking status as a surrogate for human papillomavirus status in veterans treated for tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Design:
Outcome cohort study.

Setting:
Tertiary care Department of Veterans Affairs hospital.

Patients:
A consecutive sample from 1981 through 2006 of 683 patients treated for oropharyngeal SCC was screened, and 141 patients with tonsillar SCC without distant metastatic spread and a minimum of 2 years of follow-up were included.

Main outcome measures:
Disease-free survival (DFS), disease-specific survival (DSS), and overall survival (OS).

Results:
Disease-free survival was significantly better in cohort II (treated during or after 1997) compared with cohort I (treated before 1997) (2- and 5-year DFS, 82% vs 64% and 67% vs 48%; P = .02). Disease-specific survival was better in the surgical vs nonsurgical group (2- and 5-year DSS, 77% vs 46% and 67% vs 30%; P < .001), as was the OS (2- and 5-year OS, 66% vs 41% and 45% vs 23%; P = .005). In subjects with early-stage disease, OS and DSS were not different regardless of treatment type. In subjects with late-stage disease treated most recently (time cohort II), there was significantly better DSS in those receiving surgical vs nonsurgical treatment (2-year DSS, 70% vs 43%; P = .045). Nonsmokers had better OS (94 months vs 41 months; P = .001) and lower incidence of recurrence (8% vs 44%; P = .02). Conclusion: In veterans treated for tonsillar SCC, we advocate the consideration of a treatment plan that includes surgery for patients presenting with advanced-stage SCC of the tonsil, even in patients with notable comorbidities. Authors: JJ Jaber, J Moreira, WJ Canar, and CM Bier-Laning Authors affiliation: Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153, USA

November, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

Fentanyl buccal soluble film (FBSF) for breakthrough pain in patients with cancer: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Source: Annals of Oncology, doi:10.1093/annonc/mdp541
Author: R. Rauck et al.

Background:
Fentanyl buccal soluble film (FBSF) has been developed as a treatment of breakthrough pain in opioid-tolerant patients with cancer. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of FBSF at doses of 200–1200 µg in the management of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer receiving ongoing opioid therapy.

Patients and methods:
This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multiple-crossover study that included opioid-tolerant adult patients with chronic cancer pain who experienced one to four daily episodes of breakthrough pain. The primary efficacy assessment was the sum of pain intensity differences at 30 min (SPID30) postdose.

Results:
The intent-to-treat population consisted of 80 patients with 1 post-baseline efficacy assessment. The least-squares mean (LSM ± SEM) of the SPID30 was significantly greater for FBSF-treated episodes of breakthrough pain than for placebo-treated episodes (47.9 ± 3.9 versus 38.1 ± 4.3; P = 0.004). There was statistical separation from placebo starting at 15 min up through 60 min (last time point assessed). There were no unexpected adverse events (AEs) or clinically significant safety findings.

Conclusions:
FBSF is an effective option for control of breakthrough pain in patients receiving ongoing opioid therapy. In this study, FBSF was well tolerated in the oral cavity, with no reports of treatment-related oral AEs.

Authors:
R. Rauck1, J. North1, L. N. Gever2, I. Tagarro3 and A. L. Finn4

Authors’ affiliations:
1 Carolinas Pain Institute, Winston-Salem, NC
2 Meda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Somerset, NJ, USA
3 Meda Pharmaceuticals, Madrid, Spain
4 BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc., Raleigh, NC, USA

Note:
Full text article is available here.

November, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

Uninsured have higher mortality from head and neck cancer than insured

Source: professional.cancerconsultants.com
Author: staff

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have reported that patients with “Medicaid/uninsured and Medicare disability were at increased risk of death after the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) when compared with patients with private insurance.” The details of this study were published online on November 20, 2009 in Cancer.[1]

Unfortunately, underinsured or uninsured patients are reportedly at risk for impaired access to care, delays in medical treatment, and in some cases, substandard medical care. A recent article in the journal Cancer suggests that patients who are uninsured or those who receive Medicaid benefits may be at greater risk for developing postoperative complications and dying after surgery for colorectal cancer. Researchers from the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and the Kentucky Cancer Registry have previously documented survival differences in patients with and without private health insurance. These findings were reported in the October 13, 2003 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The current study evaluated outcomes of 1,231 patients with head and neck cancer treated at the University of Pittsburgh. Patients were divided into those with Medicaid and uninsured status plus those with Medicare disability versus patients with private insurance. The hazard ratio for survival was 1.50 for patients defined as Medicaid/uninsured versus private insurance. The hazard ration for survival of Medicare disability patients was 1.69 compared with patients with private insurance. These increased rates of death were presented and then corrected for competing risk factors such as alcohol and tobacco use. Patients with SCCHN were also twice as likely to present with a more-advanced stage of disease and were more likely to have positive lymph nodes compared with patients with private insurance.

Comment:
With over 40 million uninsured persons in the United States, these are deeply disturbing statistics.

Reference:
[1] Kwok J, Langevin SM, Argiris A, et al. The impact of health insurvane status on survival of patients with head and neck cancer. Cancer [early online publication]. November 20, 2009.

November, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

Should your son get the HPV vaccine?

Source: www.nbc-2.com
Author: staff

TAMPA: David Hastings is back to helping his wife Jo at their Cuban restaurant outside Saint Petersburg. He’s grateful to be here after a very close call.

“One morning I was shaving and I noticed this side of my neck was swollen,” Hastings explained.

The diagnosis: stage four oral cancer. Until then, David was a healthy non-smoker who exercised regularly. “Picture a male drinking and smoking everyday for years and years. That’s who gets my cancer. I kept saying people, that’s not me.”

It turns out David’s cancer was caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV, a virus he didn’t even know he carried.

Nancy: “So David’s case is not rare?”
Dr. Anna Giuliano: “No! Not at all!”

From her office at the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Dr. Anna Giuliano is leading an international study on HPV in men.

Right now the virus is best known for causing cervical cancer in women. But that is about to change.

“Cervical cancer is going down and HPV related head and neck cancer is going up,” she explained.

Dr. Giuliano says every year between 6 and 8 thousand head and neck cancers in men are HPV-related. “Now we have very definitive evidence that HPV causes cancer in men; the most important being head and neck cancers, penile cancer and anal cancer,” she told NBC2.

In October, the FDA approved the use of the HPV vaccine Gardasil in males ages 9-26. But Dr. Giuliano worries misinformation will keep young men from being vaccinated.

This government website collects complaints from young woman who’ve experienced side effects from Gardasil.

As of September 1st, 26 million doses were distributed and there were 15,037 complaints. 93% were not considered serious. Those side effects included fainting, pain and swelling at the injection site, headache, nausea, and fever.

Serious side effects included blood clots And 44 young women have died after receiving the vaccine.

But, experts say there is no pattern or evidence to suggest the deaths were caused by Gardasil. “In most cases, they are not verified cases,” said Dr. Giuliano.

She believes the vaccine is safe and vital to preventing cases like David’s. “The only way we have to prevent this cancer is by vaccinating males. We have no early detection, no screening, there’s nothing we can offer people. This would be it,” she said.

David is now an advocate for the vaccine. He’s not sure how he got HPV but he knows being vaccinated against it would’ve prevented the cancer that almost killed him.

November, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

After being diagnosed, Zenk Pinter is an oral cancer spokesperson

Source: www.acorn-online.com
Author: Susan Wolf

Colleen Zenk Pinter of Redding, an actor who stars as Barbara Ryan on As the World Turns, has partnered with the Oral Cancer Foundation, Yale New-Haven Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to be a spokesperson for oral cancer. Ms. Pinter was diagnosed with oral cancer in March 2007 and is now cancer-free.

“I had no risk factors for this ‘old man’s cancer,’ she said, but her doctors said hers was probably due to human papilloma virus (HPV), which is most often associated with cervical cancer.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the country, and it is estimated that about 70% of American men and women will be infected at some point in their lives.

According to Ms. Zenk Pinter, a growing number of women are being diagnosed with oral cancer, from one in 10 to now a 50-50 split. “The difference is HPV,” she said.

She is a proponent of the Gardasil® vaccine against HPV for both girls and boys. It doesn’t help if only half of the population (girls) is being vaccinated. Why boys? “Simple. HPV is sexually transmitted.”

Physicians and researchers advocate that the vaccine be given to both sexes, Ms. Zenk Pinter said.

During her speech at New York University School of Dentistry graduation, where she received the 2009 Harry S. Strusser Memorial Award for Public Service and Outstanding Contributions to Public Health, Ms. Zenk Pinter implored the graduating doctors and surgeons to thoroughly check their patients for oral cancer at every cleaning. “If it is caught early,” she said, “it is highly treatable.”

Her message, Ms. Zenk Pinter said, is, “Make sure you have a thorough cancer screening every time you see your dentist.”

She has made appearances on CBS and CNN and major women’s magazines to talk about oral cancer early detection. She was honored in 2008 by Hollywood, Health and Society at USC for her oral cancer storyline on As the World Turns. The society is a watchdog group that assesses medical storytelling in film and television.

Ms. Zenk Pinter recently spoke at the American Cancer Society luncheon in Westport and will be speaking at the first Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Phoenix, Ariz., in January. “Wherever they need me, I will go,” she said.

She has been nominated for the Gilda Radner Courage Award for 2010, which is given to a cancer survivor who has made an impact in the field. “I am very humbled and honored,” Ms. Zenk Pinter said.

Dental hygiene students screen for oral cancer

Source: uscnews.usc.edu/health
Author: Beth Dunham

oral screening01Members of the USC School of Dentistry’s Dental Hygiene Class of 2010 provided oral health screenings and tobacco cessation advice for USC students, staff members and visitors during the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19. Marked every November with outreach events across the nation, the American Smokeout is designed to help smokers find effective methods to help them quit smoking and highlight the benefits of giving up tobacco.

Better oral health and dramatically decreased risk of deadly oral cancer is one huge benefit, said dental hygiene student Allison Clark. Just outside of Bovard Auditorium, the student manned a table stocked with information on oral cancer – including shocking photographs of the damage caused by the disease – and helpful advice on how to successfully quit smoking.

Dental hygiene student Lauren Levine said that smokers who turned in at least one cigarette received a prize pack that included a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste, as well as smoking cessation supplies such as gum and information on quitting resources and techniques. They also received a raffle ticket for a chance to win an electric toothbrush.

Dental hygiene students conducted oral health screenings at both the USC Pharmacy and School of Dentistry on the University Park campus. Even nonsmokers took the opportunity to receive a free oral health checkup. Staff member Todd Henneman said he thought having a screening was a good idea even though he doesn’t smoke.

“I figured that I might as well take the opportunity to make sure there were no problems,” Henneman said.

Staff member and USC alumna Lauren Sherrell said she is “very much into preventive measures.” Though she doesn’t smoke, she opted for an oral health screening as soon as she saw the signs outside the pharmacy.

Diane Melrose, chair of the USC dental hygiene program, said the students had conducted more than 120 oral screenings and spoke to more than 500 people about the effects of smoking on the oral cavity.

Coupled with activities that took place all over the country, Levine said she hoped lots of smokers got the message and found advice on quitting.

“It’s really cool that it’s not just about our efforts here at USC but also nationwide,” she said.

November, 2009|Oral Cancer News|