Monthly Archives: May 2011

With HPV-related head and neck cancers rising, focus on treatment and vaccination

Source: blogs.wsj.com/health
Author: Laura Landro

A form of head and neck cancer associated with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus is on the rise, especially in men, the WSJ reports.

Fast-rising rates of oropharyngeal cancer — tumors in the tonsil and back-of-the-tongue area — have been linked to changes in sexual behavior that include the increased practice of oral sex and a greater number of sexual partners.

But HPV-positive cancer has also been reported in individuals who report few or no sexual partners. It may also be possible for the virus to be transmitted to an infant via an infected mother’s birth canal. An HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for girls because the virus can cause cervical cancer.

The rise in HPV-positive head and neck cancers is leading to a new focus both on treatment of the disease, and whether recommending routine vaccination for boys could prevent oral infections and cancers. (A CDC advisory panel said in 2009 that it was fine for boys to get the vaccine, but recommended against routine administration.)

Eric Genden, chief of head and neck oncology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, tells the Health Blog that when treated appropriately, patients with HPV-positive cancers have an 85% to 90% disease-free survival rate over five years. By contrast, patients with HPV-negative head and neck cancers, which are often associated with smoking and drinking, typically have more advanced disease when the cancer is detected and face a five-year survival rate of only 25% to 40%, Genden says.

HPV-induced head and neck cancer responds well to almost all forms of cancer therapy including surgery, external beam radiotherapy and chemotherapy. At Mount Sinai, the use of robotic surgery and radiation –with no chemotherapy required — resulted in three-year survival rates of 90% and significantly improved quality of life for patients, its studies show. Robotic surgery is less invasive than non-robotic tumor surgeries, minimizing complications and recover time.

Philip Keane, a 52-year old photographer and father of three , had the surgery last July at Mount Sinai, followed by a six-and-a-half week course of radiation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Keane says he’s switched to a healthier diet, and didn’t develop many of the symptoms of radiation he was warned about, such as mouth or neck sores. He says that during his therapy, he was able to continue working and doing everything he did before he got sick, and is now cancer-free.

On the vaccine front, at a meeting next month the CDC plans to review data on the issue of the cost and benefits of routinely recommending HPV vaccination for boys.

Michael Brady, chair of the department of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and chairman of the infectious disease committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics, says the AAP is awaiting any updates before changing its own policies: routine recommendation for girls at age 11 to 12 (with catch-up for teens and young women who have not received the vaccine, up to age 26 years) and a permissive recommendation for boys — meaning families or teens can get it if they ask for it.

Brady explains that the gender discrepancy for HPV vaccine occurred because initial studies for safety and effectiveness were done in females and the idea was a high coverage rate in females would result in protection of heterosexual males via herd immunity.

But low coverage of females by the vaccine means that there is minimal protection of heterosexual males, and there’s increasing evidence of the impact of HPV-related genital, oral and anal cancers in men. There is also no value in a female vaccine program for homosexual men. “All [this leads] to a realization that males would benefit from the HPV vaccine,” Brady says.

The CDC’s own permissive recommendation for young men allowed for payment through the Vaccines for Children program, and a Merck spokeswoman says more commercial insurers are paying for the vaccine for males. But Brady says vaccines with that level of recommendation tend to not be discussed at physician visits, and administration of HPV vaccine to males has been very low.

Moreover, while clear evidence of a cost benefit in girls was shown prior to the release of the vaccine, cost/benefit data for males are still being determined. “The more that people look; the more that it is clear that males would benefit by receiving the HPV vaccine,” Brady says. “The discussion is [over] whether it merits a routine recommendation.”

Tobacco companies face packaging dispute in Australia

Source: www.thirdage.com
Author: Caitlin Bronson

The Australian tobacco industry is fighting to retain their rights to advertise on their own packaging in response to legislation slated to be introduced in Parliament in July.

The new law would allow the Australian government to replace the currently bright packaging of cigarette packs with a uniform olive green color, along with health warnings and full-color images of the consequences of smoking. The brand name of the cigarette would appear in small print underneath the depictions of things like mouth cancer or gangrenous toes.

The logic behind the dull and disturbing packaging is simple—if smoking is presented in an unattractive light, more Australians will quit smoking and less young people will pick up the habit. However, the country does not have a precedent to look to in this matter, as none other has tried it.

And the tobacco industry is warning against it.

The Associated Press reports that the uniform packaging required by the hypothetical law would be easy to counterfeit, allowing for illegal Asian tobacco, on which tax is not paid, to enter the Australian market. To compete against the illegal product, companies like British American Tobacco Australia Ltd. (BATA) have said they would cut prices for cigarettes. This could backfire on the government, causing more Australians to take up the habit.

“If they keep pushing us down this path with this experimental piece of legislation, unfortunately it’s going to end up in court, and it’s likely to cost millions of dollars, and if they lose, that’s potentially billions of dollars paid by Australian taxpayers,” BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre said in a Sunday statement.

Other companies with interests in the Australian tobacco market agree, saying they will pursue expensive litigation for compensation if the legislation is passed, the AP reports.

However, Australian National University marketing expert Andrew Hughes told the AP that tobacco industry may be bluffing, and that the proposed law would have more effect in driving tobacco from Australian shores than increasing the demand for the product.

“It’s removing a very important part of modern marketing, which is the brand itself, and these days, that’s worth billions of dollars,” Hughes told AP. “It’s like taking the Golden Arches away from McDonald’s—it removes equity from a company’s balance sheet overnight.”

According to BATA, which obtained confidential documents under a Freedom of Information request, the government has budgeted $4.8 million to implement the legislation. However, the figure does not include legal costs, which are estimated to be more than $10 million, Australia’s Sky News reports.

Australia currently has a smoking population of 17 percent, compared with the 20 percent of American adults who smoke.

Head and Neck Cancers Linked to HPV are on the Rise

Source: The Wall Street Journal

A form of head and neck cancer associated with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus is on the rise, especially in men, the WSJ reports.

Fast-rising rates of oropharyngeal cancer — tumors in the tonsil and back-of-the-tongue area — have been linked to changes in sexual behavior that include the increased practice of oral sex and a greater number of sexual partners.

But HPV-positive cancer has also been reported in individuals who report few or no sexual partners. It may also be possible for the virus to be transmitted to an infant via an infected mother’s birth canal. An HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for girls because the virus can cause cervical cancer.

The rise in HPV-positive head and neck cancers is leading to a new focus both on treatment of the disease, and whether recommending routine vaccination for boys could prevent oral infections and cancers. (A CDC advisory panel said in 2009 that it was fine for boys to get the vaccine, but recommended against routine administration.)

Eric Genden, chief of head and neck oncology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, tells the Health Blog that when treated appropriately, patients with HPV-positive cancers have an 85% to 90% disease-free survival rate over five years. By contrast, patients with HPV-negative head and neck cancers, which are often associated with smoking and drinking, typically have more advanced disease when the cancer is detected and face a five-year survival rate of only 25% to 40%, Genden says.

HPV-induced head and neck cancer responds well to almost all forms of cancer therapy including surgery, external beam radiotherapy and chemotherapy. At Mount Sinai, the use of robotic surgery and radiation –with no chemotherapy required — resulted in three-year survival rates of 90% and significantly improved quality of life for patients, its studies show. Robotic surgery is less invasive than non-robotic tumor surgeries, minimizing complications and recover time.

Philip Keane, a 52-year old photographer and father of three (pictured at upper right), had the surgery last July at Mount Sinai, followed by a six-and-a-half week course of radiation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Keane says he’s switched to a healthier diet, and didn’t develop many of the symptoms of radiation he was warned about, such as mouth or neck sores. He says that during his therapy, he was able to continue working and doing everything he did before he got sick, and is now cancer-free.

On the vaccine front, at a meeting next month the CDC plans to review data on the issue of the cost and benefits of routinely recommending HPV vaccination for boys.

Michael Brady, chair of the department of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and chairman of the infectious disease committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics, says the AAP is awaiting any updates before changing its own policies: routine recommendation for girls at age 11 to 12 (with catch-up for teens and young women who have not received the vaccine, up to age 26 years) and a permissive recommendation for boys — meaning families or teens can get it if they ask for it.

Brady explains that the gender discrepancy for HPV vaccine occurred because initial studies for safety and effectiveness were done in females and the idea was a high coverage rate in females would result in protection of heterosexual males via herd immunity.

But low coverage of females by the vaccine means that there is minimal protection of heterosexual males, and there’s increasing evidence of the impact of HPV-related genital, oral and anal cancers in men. There is also no value in a female vaccine program for homosexual men. “All [this leads] to a realization that males would benefit from the HPV vaccine,” Brady says.

The CDC’s own permissive recommendation for young men allowed for payment through the Vaccines for Children program, and a Merck spokeswoman says more commercial insurers are paying for the vaccine for males. But Brady says vaccines with that level of recommendation tend to not be discussed at physician visits, and administration of HPV vaccine to males has been very low.

Moreover, while clear evidence of a cost benefit in girls was shown prior to the release of the vaccine, cost/benefit data for males are still being determined. “The more that people look; the more that it is clear that males would benefit by receiving the HPV vaccine,” Brady says. “The discussion is [over] whether it merits a routine recommendation.”

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

Obama’s choice to lead Joint Chiefs is a Head and Neck Cancer Survivor.

Source: The Washington Post

Crooning is not among the qualities that pushed Dempsey to the top of Obama’s list in searching for a successor to Adm. Mike Mullen, whose term as Joint Chiefs chairman began under President George W. Bush and ends Sept. 30. But Dempsey’s singing singles him out in a field of Army generals who are usually less publicly playful, and more rigidly aligned with a military culture of caution.

Last Friday, in front of news cameras and a gathering for kids and adults who have lost fathers, mothers and other relatives in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Dempsey sang a bit of “New York, New York,” and also “The Unicorn” children’s song: “… there were green alligators, and long-neck geese, some humpty-back camels and some chimpanzees …”

And he uses social media sites to push the music theme. In a recent Facebook post he mentioned that he likes to use videos set to music to reinforce the message in his Army presentations, and he asked younger soldiers to suggest selections. Among the responses: Metallica, AC/DC and endorsement of his recent use of a song by the group Disturbed.

At age 59, with 36 years of Army service after graduating from West Point, Dempsey comes across as energetic and athletic. Last year he underwent treatment for what his spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, said Sunday was “head and neck cancer that presented itself as a tumor on the base of his tongue.” She said his doctors have given him a clean bill of health.

The story of Dempsey’s rise to the top job in the military is remarkable, not least because just a month ago it was widely presumed that Marine Gen. James Cartwright was a lock for the post. Dempsey had just been sworn in for a four-year term as the Army’s chief of staff, an assignment he clearly relished. A cup of coffee later, Dempsey is a Senate vote away from taking a much different job, one that will make him the senior military adviser to Obama.

Cartwright’s stock fell after the public release of a Pentagon investigation into claims of misconduct with a young female aide. The Pentagon’s inspector general cleared Cartwright of the most serious claims, which suggested he’d had an improper relationship with the woman. But the investigation found that he mishandled an incident in which the aide was drunk and either passed out or fell asleep in his hotel room, where he was working.

This would not be the first time Dempsey has changed course suddenly. When he was serving in 2008 as deputy commander at U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the greater Middle East, Dempsey was picked to become the Army’s top general in Europe. But he never made the move because the Central Command’s top leader, Adm. William J. Fallon, resigned suddenly and unexpectedly. Dempsey took over as the acting commander until Gen. David Petraeus was confirmed for the job several months later.

Dempsey then was given command of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, at Fort Monroe, Va., where he developed the Army’s thinking on how to prepare for future wars. There he preached “the gospel of adaptation” — a conviction that uncertain times demand that soldiers and their leaders be versatile, flexible and open to new ways of doing things.

Dempsey, who grew up in New Jersey and New York, received a master’s degree in English from Duke University in 1984 and then taught English at West Point. He also earned master’s degrees from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1987 and from the National War College in 1995.

He has a reputation for embracing change. Peter Mansoor, who served under Dempsey in Iraq as a brigade commander in the 1st Armored Division, wrote in his book, “Baghdad at Sunrise,” that Dempsey — then a one-star general — had good instincts.

“His vision and ability to manage transitions and change were important assets” for a commander at a difficult time in the Iraq war, Mansoor wrote. Dempsey also fought in the 1991 Gulf War that expelled Iraqis occupation forces from Kuwait. And in 2001-03 he ran a U.S. military program to train and equip Saudi Arabia’s National Guard. He then took the 1st Armored Division to Iraq.

On the day Dempsey became Army chief of staff on April 11, Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised his “quiet confidence” and unwillingness to be satisfied with the status quo — “a quality I have always looked for when selecting our military’s senior leaders.”

Gates recommended Dempsey for the Joint Chiefs chairmanship, but, if confirmed, Dempsey will not work under Gates, who is retiring June 30. Instead he will be partnered at the Pentagon with Gates’ designated successor, Leon Panetta, if Panetta is confirmed by the Senate.

A theme that Dempsey had identified as a main focus of his term as Army chief — how to prepare soldiers and the institutional military for the post-Iraq and post-Afghanistan period — will almost certainly be a central feature of his agenda as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.


 

 

Cancer clip on tobacco pouch

Source: www.telegraphindia.com
Author: staff

Packets of chewing tobacco sold across India after December 1, 2011 will have to show graphic images portraying the disfiguring effects of oral cancer, but cigarette and bidi packets may show milder pictures, the Union health ministry said today.

The health ministry has notified two new sets of pictorial warnings — harsher images for packets of chewing tobacco — that will replace the existing pictures, scorpions on chewed tobacco products, and diseased lungs on cigarette and bidi packets.

Cancer and public health specialists have welcomed the new images, but pointed out that the choice of images given to manufacturers of smoking tobacco will allow them to use a milder warning of a man with diseased lungs rather than of mouth cancer.

“I’m not happy at all at the choice of pictures for smoking tobacco products,” said Pankaj Chaturvedi, an associate professor of head and neck cancer surgery at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

“Pictorial warnings need to have a strong deterrence effect that impacts people — the pictures for chewing tobacco are likely to have such an effect, but the pictures for smoking tobacco don’t,” he said.

“The new four pictures for chewing tobacco are very similar and graphically depict the consequences of mouth cancer,” said Monika Arora, the head of health promotion and tobacco control at the Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi.

But three of the four images for smoking tobacco packets show a male with lungs in different stages of disease, while the fourth image shows a gross lesion on the mouth caused by oral cancer.

“Manufacturers are more likely to pick one of the pictures showing the man with diseased lungs rather than the picture of oral cancer,” a source in the health ministry said.

The new health warnings, due since June 2010, are expected to be implemented by all manufacturers from December 1, 2011. Anti-tobacco activists believe that lobbying by sections of the tobacco industry has contributed to the delay in the new warnings.

The new pictures will be used for two years after which the health ministry is expected to issue a fresh set of pictures.

Health ministry sources said harsher pictures have been selected for chewed tobacco because surveys have shown that more men and women in India use smokeless tobacco, mainly chewing tobacco, than smoking tobacco.

Philip Morris Int’l purchases license to nicotine system

Source: Associated Press

Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc. has purchased the rights to a technology that lets users inhale nicotine without smoking.

The world’s largest nongovernmental cigarette seller told The Associated Press on Thursday it has bought the patent for an aerosol nicotine-delivery system developed by Jed Rose, director of the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University in Durham, N.C. The school does not have a role in Rose’s agreement with the company and won’t receive any money. Terms were not disclosed.

“By avoiding the burning process altogether, finding a way of giving smokers nicotine to inhale but without those toxic substances that we can reduce the death and disease associated with smoking,” said Rose, who led the initial studies in the early 1980s that helped pave the way for commercial nicotine patches as a smoking cessation treatment.

“Hopefully it’s a wave of the future that inhaling combusted, burning tobacco will someday be a thing of the past.”

Rose said the next step is for Philip Morris International, with offices in New York and Lausanne, Switzerland, to develop a commercial product using the technology. The system differs from current medicinal nicotine inhalers available on the market as stop-smoking aids because it delivers nicotine more rapidly to mimic the nicotine “hit” a cigarette provides smokers.

“The other methods of delivering nicotine fall short of providing smokers with the satisfaction that they crave,” Rose said.

The move is an “important step in our efforts to develop products that have the potential to reduce the risk of smoking-related diseases,” Doug Dean, Philip Morris International’s senior vice president for research and development, said in a statement.

Spokesman Peter Nixon said it may take three to five years to develop a commercial product that would be considered an alternative to conventional cigarettes.

Its shares rose 93 cents, or more than 1 percent, to $70.42 in afternoon trading.

Thursday’s announcement is the latest in a series of steps by tobacco companies to venture into smokeless tobacco and other nicotine products as tax increases, health concerns, smoking bans and stigma cut into demand for cigarettes.

Last month, British American Tobacco PLC created a subsidiary called Nicoventures focused on nicotine alternatives. In 2009, the nation’s second-largest tobacco company Reynolds American Inc. purchased Swedish company Niconovum whose nicotine gum, pouches and spray help people stop smoking.

“We know that people smoke for the nicotine and die from the smoke,” said David Sweanor, a Canadian law professor and tobacco expert who consults with companies and others on industry issues. The question becomes, “can you give them the nicotine without the smoke in some way that’s consumer acceptable.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is developing guidelines for companies interested in developing what the agency calls modified-risk tobacco products.

“Changes in the regulatory systems are creating an environment where competitive forces will move this market quite dramatically,” Sweanor said.

Nearly 6 million people die from tobacco use each year, from both direct use and secondhand smoke, according to the World Health Organization.

Philip Morris International, smaller only than state-controlled China National Tobacco Corp., was spun off from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc. in March 2008. Altria, owner of the nation’s largest tobacco company, Philip Morris USA, still sells Marlboro and other brands in the U.S.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.


Study findings may change surgical practice

Source: www.digitaljournal.com
Author: press release

Currently, about 30 per cent of patients who receive oral surgery have their cancer recur. But a new, Canada-wide surgical trial using a new approach to remove tumours and pre-cancerous cells from the mouths of those diagnosed with early-stage oral cancer offers new hope for patients.

The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) announces the launch of a $4.7 million Pan-Canadian Phase III clinical trial aimed at improving outcomes for patients undergoing surgery for oral squamous cell cancers. The Canadian Optically Guided Approach for Oral Lesions Surgical Trial (The COOLS Study) has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice here and around the world for this kind of cancer.

“Our investment in this promising study is our response to a serious clinical concern expressed by head and neck surgeons across Canada and it has the potential to change surgical practices for cancer of the mouth nationally and internationally,” said Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI President and Scientific Director.

Using a new surgical approach guided by an existing hand-held light tool, the surgeons, pathologists, and scientists involved in this nine-centre study will determine whether recurrence is reduced when they shift the surgical field for the removal of tumours or pre-cancerous cells in the mouth.

The surgeons will use fluorescence visualization (FV) or “blue light” provided by the optical aid rather than traditional white light to determine the tissue to be removed. Under the blue light, normal tissue generates a fluorescence which is absent in tumour or pre-cancerous tissue. The study will aim to spare normal healthy tissue from surgery while catching high-risk, pre-cancerous tissue identified through FV.

“This study will have an immediate impact on practice if the study turns out the way we hope,” says TFRI COOLS Study principal investigator Dr. Miriam Rosin, a senior scientist with the BC Cancer Agency who holds joint appointments at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. “If the study is successful, it will help to reduce the number of deaths from oral cancer as well as to improve the quality of life for people living with this disease. Working with scientists, we will have this new approach ready to disseminate to the surgical community at large and even globally.”

“In work we’ve conducted to date in Vancouver, there has been almost no recurrence where surgery followed the contour of the lesion shown by using FV-guided surgery. Working together with surgeons, pathologists, research staff and scientists, this TFRI-funded study will enable us to test the approach on a broader cohort of patients at sites across the country and obtain the evidence required to change current practice.” remarks principal investigator Dr. Catherine Poh, a senior scientist with BC Cancer Agency and oral pathologist and associate professor, University of British Columbia and oral pathologist and consulting dentist, Vancouver General Hospital.

This is the first Canadian study ever to bring together this group of clinicians to address a surgical challenge in oral cancer. “Our surgical community has expressed great interest in participating in this trial which provides an unique and important opportunity to assess a surgical intervention in a controlled prospective manner across many sites,” says principal investigator Dr. Scott Durham, an ear, nose and throat surgeon and clinical professor and head, division of otolaryngology, Vancouver General Hospital. The study aims to build a network of clinicians, pathologists and research staff across the country to fight oral cancer.

About The Terry Fox Research Institute:
Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the research arm of The Terry Fox Foundation. TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 50 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada as MOU partners. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, BC.

Blue light tool could save lives of patients suffering from oral cancer

Source: www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress
Author: Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

A device that emits a blue light is giving patients undergoing surgery for oral cancer a fighting chance at survival and Canada is at the forefront of research that could have a global impact, researchers say.

Doctors and scientists in nine Canadian cities began testing the tool last September as part of a five-year study on 400 patients who are suffering from cancer that has afflicted their tongue or other parts of the mouth.

The hand-held fluorescence visualization tool allows surgeons to see cancer cells that can’t be detected by conventional white light so they can remove the affected tissue and prevent the disease from recurring.

Balvir Dhadda, 47, thought she’d been given a death sentence when she was diagnosed with the deadly disease four years ago after developing a sore underneath the left side of her tongue.

“When I got diagnosed, I thought `That’s it.'”

But Dhadda credits the blue light device for saving her life.

“This was the tool used on me, and the rest is history,” Dhadda said Thursday.

The tool ensured doctors removed only the tissue that was cancerous, rather than the usual practice of removing parts that might potentially be.

“I think it was a major factor in the time it took me to recover afterwards,” said Dhadda, of Surrey, B.C.

Miriam Rosin, the principle investigator of the study, said the blue-light tool developed at the BC Cancer Agency had been used to detect lung, cervical and skin cancers but is being used surgically for the first time for oral cancer.

Rosin said surgeons use the device to see cancer cells they’d otherwise miss and leaving normal tissue behind.

“When surgeons treat the disease, they catch everything that’s immediately apparent but it’s well known that a lot of the disease is scattered across the mouth,” she said.

“We showed that we could significantly stop recurrence rates,” she said of an initial study two years ago on 20 patients with early-stage oral cancer.

Rosin said the results were so promising that for the first time, teams of experts including surgeons, pathologists, research staff and scientists were brought together in nine cities across Canada to conduct the current study, which is funded by the Terry Fox Research Institute.

“It’s groundbreaking because if it works the way we hope it works, it’s going to have a big impact in the way we treat the disease and the assurance is from surgeons and from the professional societies that this will change clinical practice,” she said.

“This is a big first and the whole vision of everybody is, `Let’s get the data that will support a change in practice. It’s a major thing for Canada,” she said of the study being conducted in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa , Halifax, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and London, Ont.

Every year, about 3,400 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer, which is deadly once it spreads to the neck, throat and lymph nodes.

“With oral cancer, about one in two people will die before five years so it’s one of the worst cancers,” said Rosin, who is also a senior scientist and director of the BC Cancer Agency’s oral cancer prevention program.

The cancer typically strikes heavy smokers and drinkers, although patients like Dhadda who don’t fit that category are being diagnosed more frequently, Rosin said.

If the study shows the blue light device to be effective, the goal is to immediately start disseminating it across Canada and eventually the world.

To help with that effort, Simon Fraser University health scientist and medical anthropologist Kitty Corbett will work with the study teams to transfer their knowledge into hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Corbett said scientists often mention in the last paragraph of published research papers that a particular study has the potential to change clinical practice, but it’s up to other professionals to make the change.

The transfer of research into real-life policies is complex and takes a long time, she said, adding that working with surgeons during the study will help her understand the challenges they face in their jobs.

“If we build this kind of partnership from the get-go we should end up getting a lot of these answers in place,” said Corbett, adding the study participants would train others in using the blue light tool.

Pan-Canadian Surgical Study Offers New Hope for Patients With Early-Stage Oral Cancer

Source: Canada NewsWire

VANCOUVER, May 26, 2011 /CNW/ – Currently, about 30 per cent of patients who receive oral surgery have their cancer recur.  But a new, Canada-wide surgical trial using a new approach to remove tumours and pre-cancerous cells from the mouths of those diagnosed with early-stage oral cancer offers new hope for patients.

The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) announces the launch of a $4.7 million Pan-Canadian Phase III clinical trial aimed at improving outcomes for patients undergoing surgery for oral squamous cell cancers.  The Canadian Optically Guided Approach for Oral Lesions Surgical Trial (The COOLS Study) has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice here and around the world for this kind of cancer.

“Our investment in this promising study is our response to a serious clinical concern expressed by head and neck surgeons across Canada and it has the potential to change surgical practices for cancer of the mouth nationally and internationally,” said Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI President and Scientific Director.

Using a new surgical approach guided by an existing hand-held light tool, the surgeons, pathologists, and scientists involved in this nine-centre study will determine whether recurrence is reduced when they shift the surgical field for the removal of tumours or pre-cancerous cells in the mouth.

The surgeons will use fluorescence visualization (FV) or “blue light” provided by the optical aid rather than traditional white light to determine the tissue to be removed. Under the blue light, normal tissue generates a fluorescence which is absent in tumour or pre-cancerous tissue.  The study will aim to spare normal healthy tissue from surgery while catching high-risk, pre-cancerous tissue identified through FV.

“This study will have an immediate impact on practice if the study turns out the way we hope,” says TFRI COOLS Study principal investigator Dr. Miriam Rosin, a senior scientist with the BC Cancer Agency who holds joint appointments at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. “If the study is successful, it will help to reduce the number of deaths from oral cancer as well as to improve the quality of life for people living with this disease. Working with scientists, we will have this new approach ready to disseminate to the surgical community at large and even globally.”

“In work we’ve conducted to date in Vancouver, there has been almost no recurrence where surgery followed the contour of the lesion shown by using FV-guided surgery. Working together with surgeons, pathologists, research staff and scientists, this TFRI-funded study will enable us to test the approach on a broader cohort of patients at sites across the country and obtain the evidence required to change current practice.” remarks principal investigator Dr. Catherine Poh, a senior scientist with BC Cancer Agency and oral pathologist and associate professor, University of British Columbia and oral pathologist and consulting dentist, Vancouver General Hospital.

This is the first Canadian study ever to bring together this group of clinicians to address a surgical challenge in oral cancer.  “Our surgical community has expressed great interest in participating in this trial which provides an unique and important opportunity to assess a surgical intervention in a controlled prospective manner across many sites,” says principal investigator Dr. Scott Durham, an ear, nose and throat surgeon and clinical professor and head, division of otolaryngology, Vancouver General Hospital. The study aims to build a network of clinicians, pathologists and research staff across the country to fight oral cancer.

About The Terry Fox Research Institute:

Launched in October 2007, The Terry Fox Research Institute is the research arm of The Terry Fox Foundation. TFRI seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-oriented, milestone-based approach to research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. TFRI collaborates with over 50 cancer hospitals and research organizations across Canada as MOU partners. TFRI headquarters are in Vancouver, BC. www.tfri.ca

 

NHL icon Stan Mikita diagnosed with oral cancer

Source: Huliq.com

He is considered by Chicago Blackhawks hockey fans to be one of the greatest hockey players of all time, but he now faces his greatest challenge as it was announced Stan Mikita has cancer.

The statement was released by the Blackawks organization today. The statement was that Mikita was diagnosed with stage 1 oral cancer.

According to Chicago press reports, Mikita was diagnosed with the condition at Loyola Medical Center in downtown Chicago. The report from the team stated that the diagnosis was of early stage tongue cancer. The statement also said that, since the disease was found early, he stands a good chance of responding to treatment.

The release also asked that the press not ask the team for further information about Mikita’s condition. The statement was that it was a personal matter between Mikita and his family and his doctors. No further statements about his condition will be released by the team.

Stan Mikita was originally from Canada. He eventually came to the United States and played in the early days of the NHL. They played for the Chicago Blackhawks in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was on the team when they beat the Detroit Redwings to win the Stanely Cup in 1961.

Mikita played professional hockey throughout the 1970s. He finally retired due to chronic back pain in 1980. He has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. During his time as a player he was the league MVP twice. He is also reportedly the first player to used the curved blade on his stick.

Even in retirement, Mikita has stayed close to Chicago and the Blackhawks. He made frequent appearances at games and around the city during the team’s Stanley Cup Championship in 2010. He is currently listed by the team as an official Blackhawks Ambassador.