Monthly Archives: March 2016

Suicide: A Major Threat to Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship

Source: www.jco.ascopubs.com
Authors: Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, Eric Adjei Boakye, and Ronald J. Walker
, Mark A. Varvares
 

TO THE EDITOR: The article by Ringash that was recently published in Journal of Clinical Oncology provided a compelling narrative of both the improvements made in head and neck cancer survivorship, as well as the challenges created by longer-term treatment and associated toxicities. There are currently at least 280,000 head and neck cancer survivors in the United States. As the article by Ringash stated, the upturn in head and neck cancer survivorship in the last three decades has coincided with the emergence of human papilloma virus-positive oropharyngeal cancer, as well as a decrease in tobacco use in the general population. These make it a challenge to isolate survival gains as a function of improved therapy from the natural prognostic value of a diagnosis of human papilloma virus-positive oropharyngeal cancer. Whatever the case, the fact that more than one-quarter million Americans are currently alive after a diagnosis of head and neck cancer means there needs to be a more deliberate effort in longer-term management of treatment-related toxicities, some of which are lifelong.

We agree with Ringash’s conclusion that new models of care need to be developed in response to the significant quality-of-life issues faced by patients with head and neck cancer. The Institute of Medicine publication From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition, also cited by Ringash, called for a clear individualized survivorship plan for cancer patients. There is a serious need for this model to be implemented universally in head and neck cancer management. Although we agree with Ringash that patients with head and neck cancer face competing mortality risks from second primary cancers and other noncancers, what we found lacking was recognition of an important competing cause of mortality in head and neck cancer survivors: suicide.

Suicide associated with head and neck cancer is not just a competing cause of death; it is also a quality-of-life issue. Many authors agree that head and neck cancer is among the top cancer sites associated with suicide. One national study of 1.3 million cancer patients even found that head and neck cancer carried the highest risk of suicide among cancer survivors. As a quality-of-life issue as well as a competing cause of death, the elevated risk of head and neck cancer-related suicide, although it peaks during the first few years after diagnosis, remains virtually throughout the course of the cancer survivor’s life. Additionally, some other well-known quality-of-life issues associated with head and neck cancer (eg, pain, disability, esthetic compromise and body image issues, psychosocial function, anxiety, emotional distress, and depression) are all associated with suicide. Therefore, it is difficult to have a discussion of quality-of-life interventions in head and neck cancer without addressing the issue of suicide.

Thus, we believe that suicide in patients with head and neck cancer should be addressed as a major threat to cancer survivorship. Cardiovascular disease, for example, is a known competing cause of death among patients with head and neck cancer, and is listed in Figure 4 of Ringash’s article. Cardiovascular disease may be managed for a long time; however, when a cancer patient decides that he/she is “better off dead,” a finality, or terminality, is invoked. This is quite unique to suicide compared with other competing causes of death.

Thus, in the urgent call for “new strategies and models of care to better address quality-of-life issues and meet the needs of survivors of head and neck cancer,” we believe it is pertinent that suicide is recognized as an important threat to head and neck cancer survivorship.

DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2015.65.4673; published online ahead of print at www.jco.org on January 19, 2016

To read or download the full article, please visit: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/34/10/1151.full.pdf+html

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Nonsurgical surveillance safe, cost-effective for head, neck cancer

Source: www.healio.com
Author: Mehanna H, et al.

Patients with head and neck cancer who underwent PET/CT–guided surveillance achieved similar survival outcomes as those who underwent planned neck dissections, according to the results of a prospective, randomized controlled trial. However, surveillance led to fewer surgical operations and complications and appeared more cost-effective than neck dissection, results showed.

Patients with head and neck cancer frequently undergo invasive surgery following treatment to remove remaining cancer cells, according to study background.

“After treatment, remaining cancer cells play something akin to hide and seek,” Hisham Mehanna, MBChB, PhD, FRCS, chair of head and neck surgery at University of Birmingham and director of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education, said in a press release. “Our study shows that we can hunt them down, find them and remove them effectively.”

Mehanna and colleagues sought to define the role of image-guided surveillance compared with planned neck dissection for the management of patients with advanced, nodal head and neck squamous cell carcinoma previously treated with primary chemoradiotherapy. The analysis included data from 564 patients (mean age, 58 years; 82% men) who researchers randomly assigned to PET/CT–guided surveillance (n = 282) performed 12 weeks after the end of treatment or planned neck dissection (n = 282).

Oropharyngeal cancer served as the most common cancer subtype (84%). Seventy-five percent of patients had HPV-16–positive disease. Patients assigned surveillance only underwent neck dissection if their PET/CT scans showed incomplete or equivocal response to chemoradiotherapy.

The trial was designed to assess noninferiority of PET/CT–guided surveillance. OS served as a coprimary endpoint. Median follow-up was 36 months, with 92% of patients (n = 520) followed for at least 2 years. Ninety-six percent of patients assigned surveillance underwent PET/CT per protocol at 12 weeks. Fifty-four patients in the surveillance arm underwent neck dissections compared with 221 patients in the planned surgery arm. The surgical complication rate was similar in both cohorts (42% vs. 38%). Overall, 122 patients had died at the time of reporting (surveillance, n = 60; neck dissection, n = 62).

The rate of 2-year OS was 84.9% (95% CI, 80.7-89.1) in the surveillance arm compared with 81.5% (95% CI, 76.9-86.3) in the planned neck dissection arm. These data met the study’s noninferiority threshold (HR = 0.92; 95% CI, 0.65-1.32).

HPV–16 status did not have a significant effect on OS. Survival appeared comparable between the planned surgery and surveillance groups among patients with p16–positive (HR = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.4-1.37) and p16–negative tumors (HR = 0.98; 95% CI, 0.58-1.66). Both arms had similar rates of 2-year locoregional control (91.9% vs. 91.4%).

More patients assigned neck dissection experienced an adverse event (169 vs. 113). Patients in the surveillance arm had better quality of life scores at 6 months (P = .03); however, this difference became nonsignificant by 12 months. Surveillance appeared more cost-effective than neck dissection, with a per-person cost savings of $2,190.

“Patient outcomes, and avoiding unnecessary surgery, are the main goals of this study,” Mehanna said. “But there is a cost saving to be made, too. … Carry that [savings] across the tens of thousands of cases each year across the world and you see a significant saving that can be redistributed into other therapies.” – by Cameron Kelsall

Source:
N Engl J Med. 2016;doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1514493.

Disclosure:
The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Program funded this study. Please see the full study for a list of the researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

ACS now has a guideline for care of head and neck cancer survivors

Source: www.ajmc.com
Author: Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD

With an increasing population of head and neck cancer survivors in the United States, the American Cancer Society identified the need to develop survivorship guidelines that can lend support to primary care clinicians and other health practitioners as they care for survivors.

With an increasing population of head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors in the United States, the American Cancer Society (ACS) identified the need to develop survivorship guidelines that can lend support to primary care clinicians and other health practitioners as they care for survivors. The guideline emphasizes monitoring for recurrence, screening for second primary cancers, assessment and management of long-term and late effects, health promotion, and care coordination.

According to ACS estimates, nearly 3% (436,060) of cancer survivors in the United States have survived a bout of HNC. With these numbers in mind, ACS convened an expert panel that included members with expertise in primary care, dentistry, surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, clinical psychology, speech language pathology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, nursing, and a HNC survivor who provided a patient perspective. The panel reviewed existing guidelines and research evidence through April 2015, and created recommendations, which the committee has stressed “should be viewed as consensus-management strategies” to assist survivors. While 2081 articles were identified from a preliminary search, only 184 were finally included as evidence base.

Published online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, the following are some of the key recommendations provided by the guideline for primary care physicians:

  1. Surveillance for HNC recurrence
    a. History and physical. Primary care clinicians should
    i. individualize clinical follow-up care provided to HNC survivors based on age, specific diagnosis, and treatment protocol as recommended by the treating oncology team
    ii. conduct a detailed cancer-related history and physical examination every 1-3 months for the first year after primary treatment, every 2-6 months in the second year, every 4-8 months in years 3-5, and annually after 5 years
    iii. confirm continued follow-up with otolaryngologist or HNC specialist for HN-focused examination
    b. Education. Primary care clinicians should educate survivors on signs of local recurrence and refer them to an HNC specialist is symptoms of recurrence are observed.
  2. Screening and detection of second primary cancers. HNC survivors should be screened similar to the general population for early detection of primary cancers, including lung cancer and another head and neck and esophageal cancer (as if at increased risk).
  3.  Physical and psychosocial support. Long term and late effects of HNC should be regularly assessed at each follow-up visit.
  4. Guideline recommends assessing for spinal accessory nerve palsy, cervical dystonia/muscle spasms/neuropathies, shoulder dysfunction, trismus, dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and lymphedema
  5. Additional recommendations are for monitoring fatigue, altered of loss of taste, hearing loss, vertigo, vestibular neuropathy, sleep apnea, speech disturbance, hypothyroidism, oral and dental caries, periodontitis, xerostomia, osteonecrosis, and oral infections.
  6. Body and self-image. If HNC survivors have body or self-image concerns, they should be referred to psychosocial care.
  7. Distress or anxiety. Following regular assessment, primary care clinicians should either provide in-office counseling, provide pharmacotherapy, and/or refer HNC survivors to appropriate psycho-oncology and mental health resources or social workers per their need.
  8. Health promotion. These recommendations include educating HNC survivors on their treatment and its side effects, maintaining a healthy weight, encouraging physical activity, adequate nutrition, tobacco cessation, and the importance of personal and oral hygiene.
  9. Care coordination and practice implications. Clinicians should obtain the survivor’s treatment summary and survivorship care plan from the oncology team, maintain a continued dialogue with the oncology team, and should include caregivers, spouses, or partners in the process or care and support.

Reference
Cohen EE, LaMonte SJ, Erb NL, et al. American Cancer Society head and neck cancer survivorship care guideline. CA Cancer J Clin. 2016;66(1):43-73. doi:10.3322/caac.21343.

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Patient survives stage IV, inoperable throat cancer in clinical trial

Source: medicalxpress.com
Author: staff

It took a white lie to get David Polisini, 79, to a doctor in 2004, after months of being unable to swallow.

“Two of my daughters, Toni and Susie, showed up on my back porch and told me to put my jacket on,” he says. “They told me we were just going for a ride, but the next thing I knew, we were pulling into the Clermont Mercy Hospital.”

Polisini says tests ordered in the emergency room uncovered a tumor in his throat.

“It was the size of a golf ball,” he says, adding that he then scheduled an appointment with his primary care physician, Francis Dumont, MD. “I was then referred to an ear, nose and throat physician within his group who said I needed to see someone at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute.”

A biopsy was performed, and a diagnosis was confirmed—it was Stage IV cancer.

“I began seeing Dr. (Bill) Barrett who explained that I would need to go through very aggressive radiation along with chemotherapy five days a week for three months,” he says. “I’d drive myself every day to every visit in my little Miata. The therapy really zapped my strength, but I’m here because of it.

“I really don’t think I realized how much trouble I was in with Stage IV inoperable cancer, but I knew I had to do what I had to do to get through it.”

The radiation and chemo regimen was a Phase III clinical trial at UC, studying the effects of the use of both radiation and chemotherapy for advanced head and neck cancers.

Besides his family, Polisini credits Barrett, chair and professor of the UC Department of Radiation Oncology and director of the UC Cancer Institute, as well as the staff and care providers at the Barrett Center, where he received treatment, with being a tremendous support.

“Dr. Barrett was there with me every step of the way,” he says. “He was so dedicated to helping me, as were the other nurses and staff at UC. I’m just so impressed with everyone who works there. They stood by me the whole time, and more than 10 years later, I’m doing fine, and the cancer hasn’t come back. To me, Dr. Barrett is an angel come to Earth.”
The clinical trial seems to have worked, and Polisini, who lives in Clermont County, says that while he has a primarily liquid diet, he doesn’t regret a thing.

“By golly, I’ll trade the ability to eat with the ability to get up every morning,” he says. “I have the energy to do the things I want and have to do. I go to the ‘Y’ every other day to exercise. I do my own house and lawn work. I just put a new floor on my front porch. I can only do these things because of the outstanding treatment I received at the UC Cancer Institute and the Barrett Center.”

And he warns others to not ignore symptoms, like he did.

“If you have something wrong, see a doctor right away, unlike I did,” he says. “I’m just thankful for my daughters and Dr. Barrett for helping me.”

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Call for NZ Government to fund HPV vaccine for boys

Source: www.nzherald.co.nz
Author: Martin Johnston

Throat-cancer patient Grant Munro paid for his son to be vaccinated against the sexually-transmitted HPV virus because the Government has refused.

A 58-year-old scientific expert on viruses, he is backing a campaign by doctors calling for the extension of state funding of the controversial HPV vaccine to boys. Dr Munro, whose cancer was linked to HPV infection, says it is a form of discrimination against males that the Government will only pay for girls to have the vaccine.

State medicines agency Pharmac said it had decided not to fund the Gardasil vaccine for boys at present, but it is an option for the future. Its advisory committee assigned a low priority to funding it for all males aged 11-19 and high priority for males 9-26 “who self-identify as having sex with other males”.

In Australia, the vaccine is government-funded for boys and girls. Gardasil can protect against four strains of HPV – human papilloma virus – that can cause pre-cancerous lesions in the genital tract and mouth, and genital warts. It has been offered to New Zealand girls partly to help reduce cervical cancer.

Rates of throat-related cancers have risen sharply since the 1980s and HPV, from oral sex, is thought to be the cause. The actor Michael Douglas was treated for tongue cancer caused by HPV and has spoken of the link between HPV and performing oral sex.

After Dr Munro was treated for a tonsil tumour that contained evidence of HPV, he paid $450 for his 14-year-old son to receive the three injections of vaccine.

In 2013, Dr Munro had delayed seeking medical help for throat problems he put down to hayfever – “a sort of sore throat, sometimes a little difficulty swallowing, sometimes a little blood in the saliva, snoring. I now also remember having ferocious night sweats.”

His GP sent him to a throat surgeon who, within days, removed his left tonsil. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed. He thought he was in remission from cancer, until last week when a PET scan showed up a “highly suspicious” lymph node in his neck. Now he has been referred to a cancer specialist to discuss his options.

Dr Munro is a patient-representative of the HPV project, a group of specialists and patients, which promotes vaccination against the virus, and he will speak at its Auckland University event this week.

Surgeons report seeing many more cases of cancer of the tonsils, the base of the tongue, the back of the throat and the soft palate – together called oropharyngeal cancers.

From around 1990 to 2010, the per-capita rate of these cancers in New Zealand men more than doubled, to more than 4 per 100,000. The female rate rose significantly too, but is much lower than for men, at around 1 per 100,000 each year.

“Men are more exposed to the virus,” said Auckland ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr John Chaplin, “because the route of exposure is understood to be oral sex and that the concentration of virus in the female genital tract is much higher than in the male tract”.

“Previously all these tumours related to smoking and alcohol exposure and the rates of those are going down.”

Patients with HPV-linked throat tumours have better survival prospects, at around a 90 per cent chance of still being alive without any progression of the disease two years after diagnosis, but the side effects of treatment can be severe.

Waikato ENT doctors Theresa Muwanga-Magoye and Julian White have said that in the US, the male oropharyngeal cancer rate exceeds the cervical cancer rate, and that reasons for this may include HPV vaccination of girls, cervical screening of women, smoking, alcohol and other lifestyle factors.

Dr White said that because the rate of male oropharyngeal cancer in New Zealand had risen significantly closer to the cervical cancer rate, “it should be seen as just as important as cervical cancer when discussing HPV-related cancers and their prevention and treatment”.

Gayle Dickson, of the Gardasil Awareness NZ group, has started an online petition calling for the suspension of Gardasil vaccination until various overseas actions, including legal cases against the vaccine supplier, “have been completely carefully analysed”. The petition has more than 1500 supporters.

Internationally and in New Zealand, deaths and serious illnesses have been blamed on the vaccine.

However, the NZ Health Ministry says the vaccine has a “good safety profile”.

More than 200,000 New Zealand females have received the vaccine since 2008. By last June, 568 cases of adverse reactions had been reported following vaccination, including 41 considered serious.

The ministry, citing overseas authorities and New Zealand’s Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee, says they have found “no association between HPV immunisations and a range of health conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome, auto-immune conditions, multiple sclerosis, complex regional pain syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and sudden death”.

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Costco Wholesale to stop selling tobacco products at hundreds of locations

Source: www.medicaldaily.com
Author: Jaleesa Baulkman

Sorry smokers, but you’ll have to go someplace other than Costco to get your cigarettes.

The New York Daily News reported the retailer has spent the past few years quietly phasing tobacco products out of nearly 300 stores; there are 488 in total. Tobacco smoke has been linked to adverse health effects, such as lung and oral cancer, though that’s not why Costco did it. Instead, the company said the decision was more about business than public health.

“Tobacco is a very low margin business, tends to have higher theft and is labor intensive in some cases (due to local municipality regulations) — further, we felt we could better use the space to merchandise other items,” a spokesman from Costco told The Street.

According to The Street, Costco officials first hinted at the ban during a call with analysts, where they said tobacco sales had fallen to a “low double digit.” The company hasn’t made an official announcement because “[press releases] are a waste of money.”

The retail giant’s move is another blow to the tobacco industry, which has seen a significant drop in the percentage of Americans who smoke in the past 50 years. In 2014, the smoking rate hit an all-time low of 17.8 percent, and the rate is still dropping, The Huffington Post reported. Not to mention other retailers have quit selling these kinds of products, too.

In 1996, Target was the first large retail store to stop selling cigarettes, citing costs related to efforts to keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors, The New York Times reported. In 2014, CVS also stopped selling cigarettes in its 7,600 of its pharmacies nationwide. However, unlike Costco and Target, CVS said its decision was an effort to “help people on their path to better health.”

“CVS Caremark is continually looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease,” CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan previously said in a statement. “Stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.”

Cigarette use is responsible for the deaths of more than 480,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the many studies and graphic anti-smoking ads shedding light on the cancers and diseases associated with the habit, more than 20 percent of men and more than 15 percent of women in the United States still light up.

CVS’ ban did lead to a 1 percent decrease in cigarette sales, so who’s to say Costco’s elimination won’t have a similar effect?

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

The Oral Cancer Foundation’s Founder, Brian R. Hill, honored by the Global Oral Cancer Forum – International oral cancer community honor his accomplishments in the field.

Source: www.prnewswire.com
Author: The Oral Cancer Foundation
 

Bryan R. Hill receiving the award at the Global Oral Cancer Forum. (PRNewsFoto/Oral Cancer Foundation)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — At the recent Global Oral Cancer Forum (GOCF), Brian R. Hill, Executive Director and Founder of the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), was honored for his work as an advocate and innovative thinker in the oral cancer arena. The GOCF organizers and community awarded Hill the 2016 Global Oral Cancer Forum Commitment, Courage and Innovation Leadership Award for his dedication and contributions to the field of oral cancer over the last 18 years. Upon accepting the award, Hill received a standing ovation from those in attendance, which included global oral cancer thought leaders, researchers, treatment physicians, other non-profit organizations and representatives from various government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health / National Cancer Institute, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

When asked about being honored Hill said, “In the beginning and for many years I was alone at OCF and it was just the seed of an idea. Those grassroots efforts matured into a robust network of important relationships with a common goal. Today OCF is so much more than just me and my singular efforts. Through the benevolence of the many OCF supporters, particularly in the RDH, dental/medical professional communities and survivor groups, OCF has grown into a powerful national force for proactive change of the late discovery paradigm, access to quality information, disease and patient advocacy, funding of research, and patient support.” Hill acknowledges that he had the mentorship of some of the brightest minds of the non-profit world to build his understanding of appropriate governorship of an entity such as OCF, as well as support from core researchers and treatment professionals in the oral cancer arena. “To paraphrase someone far more famous, if I was able to see farther than others had going before me, it was because I stood on the shoulders of many highly accomplished others who helped me achieve my goals,” says Hill.

Hill, a stage four oral cancer survivor, became a student of the disease after his own diagnosis left him looking for answers. Since founding OCF and overseeing the path and initiatives of the foundation for more than a decade and a half, Hill often finds the advocacy role suits him well. He has championed anti-tobacco legislation within the political system, and is an advocate at various government entities such as the CDC regarding vaccination of boys against the virus known to be the primary cause of most oropharyngeal cancers.  He also sits on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) oversight committees—one at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which oversees clinical trials in immunotherapies in head and neck cancers, the other at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) reviewing trials looking at long-term outcomes and complications of treatment in head and neck cancers. In addition, Hill still one-on-one counsels patients, participates in OCF’s online Patient Support Forum, and is often the voice for a community that has lost its own, through many diverse media interviews and lectures.

While OCF has received many awards for its advocacy work and contributions to the battle against oral cancer, including recognition from the NIH/NIDCR, WHO, Great Non-Profits, various universities and professional medical and dental societies, and even Internet guru Mashable.com for innovations in applying technology to serve its health oriented goals, receiving recognition from this forums organizers and some of the  leading authorities on oral cancer in the international community is particularly meaningful. Those in attendance are recognized as experts in the field and understand the challenges and importance of the work OCF has undertaken. Sponsored by the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the benevolent arm of the powerful Henry Schein Inc., known for its long-term commitment to improve issues related to oral care, The Global Oral Cancer Forum’s vision is to build partnerships that will promote the changes required for a substantial impact on the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of oral cancer worldwide. The importance of the Schein organization’s leadership in creating this venue cannot be overstated.

Top oral cancer experts and advocates from around the world, representing countries as far away as Japan, China, and India as well as from the Americas, convened over the weekend to attend the inaugural forum. Attendees included clinicians, scientists, epidemiologists, activists, public health experts, as well as OCF Directors and other NPO organization heads who are working hard to find impactful avenues to reduce the global oral cancer burden. Attendees met to exchange ideas and learn from one another about what is and isn’t working in the global realm of this disease. Delegates from thirty-three countries presented new research findings and discussed their unique challenges and approaches to understanding and addressing one of the leading burdens of the cancer world.

Globally, the incidence rate for oral cancer is growing and has reached what many experts are calling epidemic proportions. This year approximately half a million patients will be newly diagnosed with an oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Among the topics discussed by GOCF panelists were the rise in disease incidence and the regional disparities and factors affecting global populations. Communities throughout much of South East Asia report a high percentage of the population chewing betel and areca nut, a significant risk factor for the development of oral cancer. Meanwhile in the U.S. and other developed countries the prevalence of the HPV virus is the leading contributor to the rising rates of oropharyngeal cancers. Identifying these differences is vital to the development of effective prevention, public policy, and treatment strategies. Advancement of a universal understanding of what the problems are and what initiatives are working around the globe, reveals commonalities, and within them the group will find its beginning joint efforts to effect change.

Looking forward there is clearly much work to be done. The good news is that there are significant strides being made in research and treatment; but balancing those positives, there are also significant shortcomings in current governmental policies, prevention, and public awareness and understanding. Hill said, “While I and OCF are very proud to have been chosen by the organizers, and the global oral cancer community to receive this award, it only serves to motivate us to strive to accomplish more. We have built relationships here that will translate into new avenues of endeavor for OCF in the future.” Jamie O’Day, OCF’s Director of Operations, also attended the conference and spent her time networking with her counterparts from around the world. Many new ideas were garnered from these discussions that will be applied in future OCF initiatives and support OCF’s mission to reduce the suffering caused by this disease both nationally and globally.

About the Oral Cancer Foundation:
The Oral Cancer Foundation, founded by oral cancer survivor Brian R. Hill, is an IRS registered non-profit 501(c)(3) public service charity that provides vetted information, patient support, sponsorship of research, as well as disease and risk factor reduction advocacy related to oral cancer. Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers that fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, head and neck cancer, and throat cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation maintains the websites: www.oralcancer.org , www.oralcancernews.org , www.oralcancersupport.org , which receive millions of hits per month. Supporting the foundation’s goals is a scientific advisory board composed of leading cancer authorities from varied medical and dental specialties, and from prominent educational, treatment, and research institutions in the United States. The foundation also manages the Bruce Paltrow Oral Cancer Fund, a collaboration between the Paltrow family represented by Ms. Blythe Danner (Paltrow), Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Paltrow and the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Media Contact: Jamie O’Day / The Oral Cancer Foundation (949) 723-4400 jamie@oralcancerfoundation.org

HPV rates down, CDC credits vaccine

Source: www.thv11.com
Author: Winnie Wright

Researchers say the rates of a cancer causing virus are on the decline thanks to vaccinations. In recent years, vaccinations have become a hot-button issue for parents and the HPV vaccine was no exception.

When the CDC began recommending the Human papillomavirus vaccine in 2006, there was a lot of push back from parents. A new study from the CDC says the rates of HPV infection are down 63 percent among girls ages 14 to 19 in the last decade and it credits the HPV vaccination.

The vaccine was very controversial when it hit the main stream 10 years ago, and THV11 wanted to know, have those findings changed parents’ minds about the vaccination?

“I think there was a great fear that the HPV Vaccine was some sort of signal to adolescent girls that sex was safe. And that there would be an increase in sexual activity and promiscuity, and in fact, that’s not happened. We’ve seen sort of the opposite,” explained Dr. Gary Wheeler, CMO for the Arkansas Department of Health.

HPV is most commonly spread through sex. According to the CDC, an estimated 79 million females aged 14-59 are infected with HPV. 14 million new infections are reported in the U.S. each year.

When Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, was introduced in 2006, it was a hard pill for many parents to swallow. The vaccine is especially encouraged for children under the age of 12, because it’s most effective the younger you are. Parents didn’t want to think of their kids as being sexually active at that age.

“I mean, of course nobody likes to think ‘my child is going to be sexually active’, but life happens and just sticking your head in the sand and pretending like it’s never ever going to happen, to me is just somewhat foolish’,” said Kate Bueche, a pro-HPV Vaccine parent.

According to Cancer.gov, virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV.

For Bueche, the subject hits close to home. She survived early stages of cervical cancer and had her daughter vaccinated for HPV, in hopes that she won’t have to go through that same ordeal.

“You get the flu vaccine and you may still get the flu, but why not go ahead and get the vaccine and cut your chances for it.”

But not all parents agree. We asked our THV11 Facebook friends if the CDC’s recent findings changed their opinions of the HPV vaccine. One mother said: “Not anymore. My daughter had the shot and she had a seizure right after.” Another mother said: “Not after reviewing the newest reports of side effects. “One mother even got the shot for her son. She said: “My son took the shots without any adverse side effects. If I had to make the choice again, I would have him take it again.”

Dr. Wheeler says vaccinating men is the next step in lowering the number of HPV infections. Most men who get HPV never develop symptoms, but they can still spread the infection.

“Males are at risk for cancer. They can have HPV-associated genital cancer, and also oral cancers because of sexual practices that would lead to HPV infection.”

The CDC now recommends the HPV vaccine for boys beginning at 11-years-old. There are also talks about including the HPV vaccine in infant vaccines, or even making it mandatory.

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Blue Jays welcome City of Toronto’s proposed ban on chewing tobacco

Source: www.theglobeandmail.com
Author: Robert Macleod and Jeff Gray

For years, it was a right of passage at the Toronto Blue Jays’ spring training camp here. Manager John Gibbons would earnestly proclaim that he was finally giving up smokeless tobacco, a personal ban that would usually only last a couple of weeks before he would be seen “dipping” once again.

It is a terrible habit, Gibbons will tell you, and that’s the reason he said he would support a City of Toronto proposal to prohibit the use of chewing tobacco at all public parks, baseball fields and hockey rinks. The prohibition would also apply at Rogers Centre, where many of the players openly use chewing tobacco.

“Tobacco’s a nasty habit,” Gibbons said. “I did it for a long, long time. I’m not proud of that. And whatever they can do to get rid of it, especially kids from doing any of that, I’m all for it.”

Toronto’s proposal to ban chewing tobacco is being spearheaded by Councillor Joe Mihevc, who is chairman of the city’s board of health. Mihevc says he intends to introduce a motion at the board’s March 21 meeting asking that officials study a potential ban that’s being supported by the Canadian Cancer Society and various anti-tobacco groups.

“Professional athletes are role models for young people,” he said, “and we need to make sure they are not promoting bad habits or tobacco use as a part of sports culture.”

Mihevc cited statistics that show a rising number of students across Ontario in Grades 7 to 12 are using smokeless tobacco, with one survey estimating that it is being used by 6 per cent of students in this age group. That number is up from 4.6 per cent in 2011. It means an estimated 58,200 students could be using it across the province, although the survey suggests use in Toronto is much lower, at 3 per cent.

Cancer researchers and health experts say chewing tobacco causes oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer, as well as lesions in the mouth and tooth decay.

Mihevc announced his intentions at a news conference at Toronto’s City Hall on Monday attended by anti-tobacco campaigners and representatives from the Canadian Cancer Society. Also in attendance was Stephen Brooks, senior vice-president of business operations with the Blue Jays. Mihevc praised the Blue Jays and Major League Baseball for their support. Brooks said the club’s management backs the idea of a ban, something that city officials in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles have already done.

He said MLB cannot bring in a league-wide ban unless it negotiates one into the players’ collective agreement. However, players and coaches are expected to abide by local bylaws wherever they happen to be playing. Brooks acknowledged there could some resistance from players, but declined to say which Blue Jays players use chewing tobacco.

“While certainly, I’m sure there will be pushback from players, this is very much in the spirit of what Major League Baseball has been advocating,” Brooks said.

Mihevc said he doubted bylaw officers would actually be deployed into the Blue Jays’ and visitors’ dugouts to make sure players were adhering to the law should it be enacted. He said the bylaw would be enforced as most bylaws are actually enforced – through conversations between citizens and social pressure.

Michael Perley, director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco, said it is not just baseball where chewing tobacco has a long history; the habit is also common among amateur hockey players. This is despite bans, he said, by the National Hockey League, the Greater Toronto Hockey League and Baseball Ontario. Bylaws would strengthen league policies, he said.

For Gibbons, it took a lot to finally give up chewing tobacco, but he is happy he did. He is closing in on the second anniversary of going tobacco-free. He said the death in June, 2014, of former MLB great Tony Gwynn prompted him to get serious about quitting.

Gwynn was only 54 when he died after battling parotid (mouth) cancer, an illness he always maintained was caused by a chewing tobacco habit he picked up during his playing career.

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Having a partner increases cancer survival rates: Australian study

Source: www.theaustralian.com.au
Author: Sean Parnell

People diagnosed with cancer are more likely to die if they do not have a partner, according to a new Australian study.

Researchers from Cancer Council Queensland and Queensland University of Technology examined 176,050 cases of the 10 most common cancers in Queensland, diagnosed between 1996 and 2012. They found the chance of death was 26 per cent higher for men who did not have a partner compared to those who did, and 20 per cent higher for women who did not have a partner, across all cancers.

“The reasons for higher survival in partnered patients still remains unclear, but are likely to include economic, psychosocial, environmental, and structural factors,” CCQ professor Jeff Dunn said yesterday.

“Having a partner has been linked to a healthier lifestyle, greater financial resources and increased practical or social support while undergoing treatment.

“Support from a partner can also influence treatment choices and increase social support to help manage the psychosocial effects of cancer.”

The increased risk varied depending on the type of cancer. For men without a partner, it ranged from 2 per cent for lung cancer to 30 per cent for head and neck cancer, while for women without a partner it ranged from 2 per cent for kidney and lung cancer to 41 per cent for uterine cancer.

“Health professionals managing cancer patients should be aware of the increased mortality risk among unpartnered patients, and tailor follow-up treatment accordingly,” Professor Dunn said.

Of the 176,050 patients analysed for the study, 68 per cent had a partner, which included those who were married or in a de facto relationship. The researchers published their findings in the journal Cancer Epidemiology and suggested a better understanding of the relationship factor might help improve cancer management and outcomes.

March, 2016|Oral Cancer News|