Yearly Archives: 2017

Immunotherapy Making Its Mark on Head and Neck Cancer

Author: Lisa Miller
Published online: 03/22/2017
Source: http://www.targetedonc.com/

Following the approval of 2 immunotherapy agents, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) over the last 6 months, immunotherapy is making its mark on the treatment paradigm for HNC.

Due to the responses seen with these 2 agents, immunotherapies are being investigated further in the treatment of HNC.

“Immunotherapy is a very potent treatment for some patients. In a way it shows you that we’re probably just scratching the surface with [immunotherapy treatment for HNC],” Tanguy Seiwert, MD, said during a presentation at the 1st Annual International Congress on Immunotherapies in CancerTM, hosted by the Physicians’ Education Resource (PER).

Findings from the KEYNOTE-012 trial led to the approval of pembrolizumab in patients with recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The overall response rate was 18% with only 1 patient experiencing a complete response.1 However, about 50% of patients, both HPV-positive and HPV-negative, experienced a decrease in their target lesions.

“I would like to point out that response is a terrible, terrible outcome measure for immunotherapy. In the end, what we really care about with immunotherapy is overall survival [OS],” commented Seiwert, associate program director of the Head and Neck Cancer Program, and assistant professor of medicine, The University of Chicago Medicine. “Many patients have prolonged stable disease and that likely contributes signicantly to the strong OS signal that we oftentimes see.”

The phase III CheckMate 141 trial, which Seiwert said was “arguably the most important study in the field,” showed a difference in OS that is more revealing of outcome measures in immunotherapy. CheckMate 141 investigated nivolumab monotherapy in the second-line setting versus investigator’s choice of chemotherapy in patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC and demonstrated a median OS of 7.5 (95% CI, 5.5-9.1) versus 5.1 months (95% CI, 4.0-6.0) with standard therapy (P = .0101).2 The 1-year OS rate was 36% with nivolumab versus 16.6% with standard therapy. Alternatively, the response rate was 13.3% with nivolumab compared with 5.8% in the standard therapy arm.

“The response rate wasn’t that impressive, but the overall survival data are stunning. And that’s again an example of how wonderfully these drugs work,” Seiwert said.

Following the responses seen in these 2 studies of PD-1 inhibitors, immunotherapy agents are being considered in the frontline, including in combination regimens, which Seiwert believes are promising. One such combination is durvalumab (MEDI4736), a PD-L1 inhibitor, and tremelimumab, an anti–CTLA-4 agent, which was compared against durvalumab or the EXTREME trial regimen of cetuximab (Erbitux) and platinum-based chemotherapy in the phase III KESTREL trial.

Other first-line combination studies of interest in HNC include the KEYNOTE-048 study, which is looking at pembrolizumab and chemotherapy versus pembrolizumab monotherapy or the EXTREME regimen (NCT02358031); the CheckMate 651 study of ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab versus EXTREME (NCT02741570); and the CheckMate 714 study exploring ipilimumab and nivolumab versus nivolumab as a single agent (NCT02823574).

Preliminary results looking at the combination of lirilumab, an anti-KIR agent, and nivolumab in a phase I/II study were presented at the 2016 SITC Annual Meeting. The combination showed an objective response rate (ORR) of 24.1% versus an ORR of 13.3% seen with nivolumab monotherapy in the CheckMate 141 trial.2,3 The OS at 1 year was 60% with the combination compared with 36% for nivolumab monotherapy. Among patients with PD-L1 expression in the tumor cells of ≥50%, the ORR was 57.1% with lirilumab and nivolumab versus 36.8% with nivolumab alone. Seiwert hypothesized that KIR was among a number of targets, also including CTLA-4, IDO, and OX40, that are more active in hot tumors.

In discussing which patients should receive immunotherapy treatment, Seiwert looked to various biomarkers currently under investigation for their predictive or prognostic association to immu- notherapy response. The KEYNOTE-024 trial looking at pembrolizumab versus chemotherapy in patients with non–small cell lung cancer changed the eld of PD-L1 testing, according to Seiwert. There was a significant difference in progression-free survival (PFS) and OS rates noted in patients with PD-L1 expression of ≥50% on the tumor cells.4 This can be translated into HNC, and notably, the KEYNOTE-048 trial of patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC will include a PD-L1–positive subgroup as part of its investigation.

“While I do have my doubts about how perfect PD-L1 testing is, I do believe it plays a role for enrichment,” Seiwert commented.

An interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) signature showed significant association with overall response (P = .005) and PFS (P <.001) in an analysis of PD-L1–positive patients from the KEYNOTE-012 trial.5 There was also a very high negative predictive value for patients with non–IFN-γ–inflamed tumors who did not receive benefit from pembrolizumab, which would prove useful in identifying which patients should not receive anti–PD-1 therapy. Of great interest are the patients with inflamed tumors who do not benefit from the treatment. Perhaps they could be converted into responders through combination therapies, Seiwert pondered.

“None of these biomarkers are perfect. I think we need a bit more time to fully understand this, but these are biomarkers that are potentially helpful and might outperform PD-L1 testing in the near future,” Seiwert said.

 

** OCF was one of the financial sponsors of the checkmate 141 trial that produced BMS’s Opdivo drug (nivolumab).**

March, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

University study supports OraCoat products’ ability to reduce plaque and improve dry mouth symptoms

Source: www.dentistryiq.com
Author: DentistryIQ Editors

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine analyzed the effects of OraCoat XyliMelts oral adhering discs on people affected by clinically diagnosed dry mouth. The double-blind, randomized study demonstrated that XyliMelts reduce tooth plaque by 58% and improve the ability to eat and swallow in those affected by dry mouth.

Dry mouth is the subjective sensation of oral dryness that affects up to 60% of the elderly population, and is caused by various disorders and oral cancer treatments such as radiation to the head and neck. Additionally, a number of medications, including over-the-counter drugs such as antidepressants, decongestants, antihistamines, appetite suppressors, and diuretics produce symptoms of dry mouth. Dry mouth symptoms include a sticky, dry sensation in the mouth, tongue roughness, frequent liquid consumption, difficulty speaking and swallowing, and sleep disruption.

OraCoat XyliMelts is a patented dry mouth product that sticks to the gums on the outside of a molar, releasing one-half gram of xylitol and cellulose gum which, combined with saliva, forms a lubricating gel. XyliMelts used at night while sleeping is the most effective delivery of Xylitol.*

The 21-day clinical study evaluated in patients with dry mouth the effects of XyliMelts on saliva production and ability to neutralize acids, as well as patient comfort. The study was administered to five test subjects who used XyliMelts as recommended: two discs while sleeping, one on each side of the mouth, and as needed during the day. On average, the subjects used four discs each day during daytime hours.

Test results showed the clinical usefulness of XyliMelts for effectively relieving dry mouth. Researchers found that XyliMelts significantly reduced sleep disruption by lasting for six hours while sleeping, while improving mouth wetness upon waking in the morning. XyliMelts also diminished tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and spicy foods and drinks. The adhering discs more than doubled saliva production while in place, and increased the ability of saliva to neutralize acids that cause tooth decay. Most importantly, the test displayed that subjects using XyliMelts in conjunction with standard oral care showed heightened saliva flow compared to standard oral care alone. XyliMelts not only alleviates symptoms of dry mouth, they also stimulate saliva production.

Overall, subject feedback to XyliMelts was positive, with subjects stating that they would continue using the discs while recommending them to others. Subjects also reported XyliMelts as easy to use with a favorable taste and overall mouth feel.

The study was published on February 13, 2017, and can be found here.

In a March 2016 Clinicians Report survey of dentists published by CR Foundation, 152 dentists who were familiar with OraCoat XyliMelts rated it more effective than any other remedy for dry mouth, including prescription drugs which came in second.†

XyliMelts are available over the counter at CVS and Rite Aid. For more information on XyliMelts, visit www.oracoat.com. Consumers interested in receiving a free sample (limit one per household) should call (855) 275-4766.

A companion product to OraCoat XyliMelts for oral cancer patients is OraCoat XyliGel, a gel with 17% xylitol buffered to pH 7.4 to relieve dry mouth. It works especially well for people with very low levels of saliva. XyliGel is available online at oracoat.com.

March, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

UK cancer patient receives new jaw thanks to 3D printing

Source: http://www.3ders.org/
Author: staff

3D printing techniques are being adopted with increasing regularity in surgery of all kinds, and more and more patients are seeing a hugely improved quality of life thanks to the unique benefits of the technology. The most recent success story took place in the UK, where a patient’s jawbone was entirely reconstructed using bone from his leg. The pioneering surgical procedure made use of 3D printing at various different stages.

Stephen Waterhouse was diagnosed with throat cancer eight years ago, and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy in order to fight it. The treatments were a great success and his cancer went away, but they had an unfortunate side effect. His jawbone had started to crumble, and emergency surgery was required before it completely disintegrated. The 53-year-old was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital, which had purchased a new 3D printer just two years previously.

Costing the hospital trust around £150,000 (about $188K), the machine is the only one of its kind in the country, and was a crucial part of the effort to save the patient’s jawbone. A 3D model was designed from a scan of his remaining intact jaw and printed out as a mold, which was then used to reconstruct the jaw using bone taken from his fibula. The operation lasted around 12 hours and was a great success.

According to Daya Gahir, consultant in maxillofacial and head and neck surgery, the hospital does “at least 40 major head and neck reconstructions per year. Around 10 to 15 cases will be done in this way using the printer.” The procedure is very intricate, and the hospital’s purchase of the 3D printer has revolutionized the way his team operates. “Some of the leg bone was taken then reshaped, as you have to replace bone with bone. We took away some of the skin from the leg as well and replanted it back into the neck. A face is not easy to reconstruct, it is intricate.”

New software for the 3D printer was developed last year, which allows the whole process to be planned and carried out within the hospital. Without this, Stephen may have had to travel to Germany for the operation to be completed, according to Gahir. Using the 3D printer in this way saves a lot of time and effort for patient and medical team alike, as well as cutting costs. Around £11,000 is saved for each case by carrying out the whole surgical process on-site.

Stephen is still in recovery and has praised the care he is receiving from staff, as well as the effectiveness of the surgery. “I am so pleased with the results,” he says, “you can’t tell the difference between the two sides of my mouth.”

March, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

Navy veteran sues Connecticut VA for missing cancer diagnosis

Source: www.ctlawtribune.com
Author: Robert Storace, The Connecticut Law Tribune

A 57-year-old Navy veteran has sued the West Haven Veterans Administration Hospital and a doctor at the facility’s Ear, Nose and Throat Department for allegedly failing to treat or diagnose his throat cancer.

In a 21-page federal lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hartford, Ned Fairbanks claimed that, despite many nodules in his throat area, Dr. Hugh F. Reilly denied his request and a request by his then-fiancée to perform a biopsy in September 2014.

“Dr. Reilly decided not to perform [a biopsy], deeming it unnecessary,” the lawsuit states. Instead, Reilly referred Fairbanks to a speech therapist on at least two separate occasions, “purportedly to help him speak differently to relieve the stress on his throat.”

The lawsuit, which seeks $5 million, alleges that six months passed before Reilly diagnosed Fairbanks with throat cancer in March 2015.

“Six months later, the tumor was the size of a plum,” David K. Jaffe, Fairbanks’ attorney, told the Connecticut Law Tribune Monday. “We had an ENT doctor who reviewed everything and, based on the exam and [Fairbanks’] history as a longtime smoker, that should have been a red flag to have a biopsy.”

The cancer progressed to a such level that Fairbanks had to have his larynx, thyroid gland and lymph nodes removed and had to have an electronic speaking device installed, Jaffe said.

Jaffe, of the Hartford law firm Brown Paindiris & Scott, also said a cancer specialist who reviewed the case believed that if the cancer were caught earlier, “it could have prevented the need for a voice box and that he could have been OK.”

An Enfield resident, Fairbanks was in the Navy from 1979 to 1988.

“He is a very stoic person,” Jaffe said. “But he is having trouble accepting the change in his image and body function.”

Fairbanks, his attorney said, still works as a heavy equipment operator in the construction business but “he has found work to be increasingly more difficult. It is often hard for him to speak and he gets fatigued easily. There is also a lot of dust and bacteria where he works.”

As of Monday afternoon, the West Haven VA had not assigned an attorney to the case.

Reilly was not available for comment Monday and no one from the West Haven VA was available for comment.
The lawsuit will be heard by Judge Vanessa Bryant.

March, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

Magnolia man joins exclusive trial in battle against cancer

Source: www.cantonrep.com
Author: Denise Sautters

Rich Bartlett is looking forward to getting back to his hobbies — woodworking and nature watching — and enjoying a good steak and potato dinner. Until then, though, he is in a fight for his life, one he plans to win.

Bartlett is a cancer patient and the first participant in a clinical trial at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland to test the safety of an immunotherapy drug — Pembrolizumab — when added to a regimen of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Back to the beginning
Bartlett went to the dentist in October for a checkup.

“He had a sore in his mouth he thought was an abscess,” explained his wife, Nancy Bartlett, who pointed out that, because radiation and chemo treatments cause the inside of the mouth to burn and blister, it is hard for Bartlett to talk.

“When the dentist looked at his sore, he sent Richard to a specialist in Canton, and in early November, he had a biopsy done. It came back positive for cancer.”

From there, he was referred to Dr. Pierre Lavertu, director of head and neck surgery and oncology at University Hospitals, and Dr. Chad Zender from the otolaryngology department, who did Bartlett’s surgery.

“They let us know it was serious,” said Nancy. “It had gone into the bone and the roof of the mouth, but they were not sure if it had gone into the lymph nodes. By the time we got through that appointment, it was the first part of December and (they) scheduled him for surgery on Dec. 22.”

The cancer tripled in size by then and the surgery lasted 10 hours. Doctors had to remove the tumor, all of the lymph nodes and parts of the jaw and the roof of Bartlett’s mouth.

“They harvested skin from his hand to rebuild the inside of his mouth, and took the veins and arteries and reattached everything through his (right) cheek,” she said. “He could not even have water until February because of the patch. He uses a feeding tube to eat now.”

The tube is temporary until Bartlett heals.

Clinical trial
Just before he started chemo and radiation therapies, the hospital called him about the clinical trial.

The trial is the first to use quadra-modality therapy — or four different types of therapy — against the cancer, according to Dr. Min Yao, the principal investigator.

Yao said Bartlett has squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, with only a 50 percent chance of survival.

“Patients have surgery, then followed by six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy and immunotherapy,” Yao said in an email interview. “That is followed by six more months of immunotherapy, one dose every three weeks.”

Bartlett currently is in the radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy part of the study.

“It is too early to tell how he is responding,” said Yao. “His tumor has been resected. After the treatment, we will see them periodically with scans. Cancer often recurs in the first two years after treatment.”

Pembrolizumab originally was developed to activate the body’s immune system in the fight against melanoma. Former president Jimmy Carter was treated with the drug for his brain metastases from melanoma in 2015.

A truck driver by trade, Bartlett will undergo daily fluoride treatments for the rest of his life to protect his teeth.

“We did not realize until we got to Cleveland just how bad this was,” said Nancy. “When you have oral cancer, and they are getting ready to do radiation and chemo, you have to go have your teeth cleaned and examined and get anything done that needs to be done because radiation tends to compromise your blood flow in your mouth. That was a step we didn’t know.”

Although he was shocked to hear the outcome of that sore in his mouth, Bartlett is grateful to be a part of the trial.

“Who wouldn’t feel good about something like this? I mean, you got something that was used on Jimmy Carter, who is recovered and is now making public appearances again,” said Bartlett, who is looking forward to June when hopefully he can start eating again and enjoying his hobbies.

“I am very hopeful about this. The whole thing has been a trial. I have a dentist in Cleveland who said I was going to be in the fight of my life, and I am. I am in a huge fight. The chemotherapy is what has knocked me down the most, but I am very positive about the outcome of this.”

March, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

World Oral Health Day 2017: Signs and symptoms of oral HPV

Source: www.thehealthsite.com
Author: Sandhya Raghavan

In 2010, when actor Michael Douglas was diagnosed with throat cancer, he said something shocking about his condition. He revealed to a journalist that cunnilingus or oral sex was the reason why he got throat cancer. Quite naturally, his comments were met with disbelief and ridicule. But the only ones who weren’t laughing was the medical fraternity, who knew that there was a tremendous amount of truth in his statement. HPV or Human Papilloma Virus, one of the biggest risk factors for cancer, can be transmitted through an infected person’s genital fluids during oral sex. From here, it starts infecting the person’s oral and respiratory system, causing cancers of the mouth and neck in the long run.

What causes oral HPV?
Dr Gautam Bhansali, a consulting physician at Bombay Hospital, states, “Oral HPV is primarily spread through sexual contact and blood contact.” Unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex, and open-mouthed kissing can cause the virus to proliferate. The risk factor is increased in people who have low immunity, like diabetics, smokers and those suffering from infectious diseases.

How to know if there is oral HPV residing in the body?
There is no way to find out because oral HPV is a sneaky virus. You may carry the virus for years and even transfer it to your partner without you knowing it. In most cases, the immune system sends the virus packing even before it sets shop in the body. But if it wins the war against your antibodies, it can increase the risk of cancers in the body.

When to see a doctor?
Oral HPV can develop into cancers of the oral cavity and the pharynx. Early symptoms include.
• Fever- “It is quite possible for a person infected with the oral HPV virus to have low-grade fevers,” says Dr Bhansali. Watch out for fevers that worsen during the evening hours.
• Trouble swallowing- If there is any obstruction in the throat while swallowing, immediately have it looked up.
• Mouth ulcers- Recurring mouth ulcers or lesions that refuse to go away can be indicators of cancer.
• Earache- “In severe cases, sometimes tumours press up against the Eustachian tube, causing earaches,” says Dr Bhansali.
• Hoarseness of voice- If tumours on one of the vocal cords end up paralysing it, the person’s voice can change to a great extent.
• Unexplained weight loss- With the immunity levels going down, someone with HPV infection may find his or her weight decreasing.
• Lump in the cheeks- “If the tumour starts developing on the parotid glands, lumps will be felt on the person’s cheeks,” reveals Dr Bhansali.
• Blood in cough – Coughing up blood is also an early symptom of oral HPV.

How can you prevent oral HPV?
Studies have proven that thorough oral hygiene can keep the virus at bay. “Following the correct oral hygiene routine is essential for preventing HPV infections. Brushing twice a day, flossing, cleaning the mouth and the genitals after sexual activity,” says Dr Bhansali. Know your sexual partner, use contraceptives and wear dental dams while performing oral sex on new sexual partners.

March, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

Self-persuasion iPad app spurs low-income parents to protect teens against cancer-causing HPV

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-03-self-persuasion-ipad-app-spurs-low-income.html
Date: March 7, 2017

As health officials struggle to boost the number of teens vaccinated against the deadly human papillomavirus, a new study from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, found that self-persuasion works to bring parents on board.

Currently public health efforts rely on educational messages and doctor recommendations to persuade parents to vaccinate their adolescents. Self-persuasion as a tool for HPV vaccinations has never been researched until now.

The SMU study found that low-income parents will decide to have their teens vaccinated against the sexually transmitted cancer-causing virus if the parents persuade themselves of the protective benefits.

The study’s subjects—almost all moms—were taking their teens and pre-teens to a safety-net pediatric clinic for medical care. It’s the first to look at changing parents’ behavior through self-persuasion using English- and Spanish-language materials.

“This approach is based on the premise that completing the vaccination series is less likely unless parents internalize the beliefs for themselves, as in ‘I see the value, I see the importance, and because I want to help my child,'” said psychology professor Austin S. Baldwin, a principal investigator on the research.

Depending on age, the HPV vaccine requires a series of two or three shots over eight months. External pressure might initially spark parents to action. But vaccinations decline sharply after the first dose.

The new study follows an earlier SMU study that found guilt, social pressure or acting solely upon a doctor’s recommendation was not related to parents’ motivation to vaccinate their kids.

The new finding is reported in the article “Translating self-persuasion into an adolescent HPV vaccine promotion intervention for parents attending safety-net clinics” in the journal Patient Education and Counseling.

Both studies are part of a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. Baldwin, associate professor in the SMU Department of Psychology, is co-principal investigator with Jasmin A. Tiro, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

Addressing the HPV problem

A very common virus, HPV infects nearly one in four people in the United States, including teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in females; penile cancer in males; and anal cancer, back of the throat cancer and genital warts in both genders, the CDC says.

The CDC recommends a series of two shots of the vaccine for 11- to 14-year-olds to build effectiveness in advance of sexual activity. For 15- to 26-year-olds, they are advised to get three doses over the course of eight months, says the CDC.

Currently, about 60% of adolescent girls and 40% of adolescent boys get the first dose of the HPV vaccine. After that, about 20% of each group fail to follow through with the second dose, Baldwin said.

The goal set by health authorities is to vaccinate 80% of adolescents to achieve the herd immunity effect of indirect protection when a large portion of the population is protected.

NCI grant aimed at developing a software app

The purpose of the National Cancer Institute grant is to develop patient education software for the HPV vaccine that is easily used by low-income parents who may struggle to read and write, and speak only Spanish.

A body of research in the psychology field has shown that the technique of self-persuasion among well-educated people is successful using written English-language materials. Self-persuasion hasn’t previously been tested among underserved populations in safety-net clinics.

The premise is that individuals will be more likely to take action because the choice they are making is important to them and they value it.

In contrast, where motivation is extrinsic, an individual acts out of a sense of others’ expectations or outside pressure.

Research has found that people are much more likely to maintain a behavior over time—such as quitting smoking, exercising or losing weight—when it’s autonomously motivated. Under those circumstances, they value the choice and consider it important.

“A provider making a clear recommendation is clearly important,'” said Deanna C. Denman, a co-author on the study and a graduate researcher in SMU’s Psychology Department. “Autonomy over the decision can be facilitated by the doctor, who can confirm to parents that “The decision is yours, and here are the reasons I recommend it.'”

Doctor’s recommendation matters, but may not be sufficient

For the SMU study, the researchers educated parents in a waiting room by providing a custom-designed software application running on an iPad tablet.

The program guided the parents in English or Spanish to scroll through audio prompts that help them think through why HPV vaccination is important. The parents verbalized in their own words why it would be important to them to get their child vaccinated. Inability to read or write wasn’t a barrier.

Parents in the SMU study were recruited through the Parkland Memorial Hospital’s out-patient pediatric clinics throughout Dallas County. Most of the parents were Hispanic and had a high school education or less. Among 33 parents with unvaccinated adolescents, 27—81%—decided they would vaccinate their child after completing the self-persuasion tasks.

New study builds on prior study results

In the earlier SMU study, researchers surveyed 223 parents from the safety-net clinics. They completed questionnaires relevant to motivation, intentions and barriers to vaccination.

The researchers found that autonomous motivation was strongly correlated with intentions, Denman said. As autonomous motivation increased, the greater parents’ intentions to vaccinate. The lower the autonomous motivation, the lower the parents’ intentions to vaccinate, she explained.

“So they may get the first dose because the doctor says it’s important,” Baldwin said. “But the second and third doses require they come back in a couple months and again in six months. It requires the parent to feel it’s important to their child, and that’s perhaps what’s going to push or motivate them to complete the series. So that’s where, downstream, there’s an important implication.”

More information: Austin S. Baldwin et al. Translating self-persuasion into an adolescent HPV vaccine promotion intervention for parents attending safety-net clinics, Patient Education and Counseling (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2016.11.014

March, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

10 Oral hygiene tips no one ever taught you that you need to know

Source: www.romper.com
Author: Leah Carton

No one loves a dry mouth or bad breath. And although brushing your teeth is something you’ve been doing for years now, there are still oral hygiene tips that no one ever taught you that could still benefit your overall health big time.

You shouldn’t take a relaxed approach when it comes to dental care since many unwanted dental concerns and problems can arise when you do so. According to Colgate, there are simple steps that you can take to decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems, in between regular visits to the dentist.

But even if you increase the uptake of cleaning your teeth, it’s still important to regularly visit your dentist, especially if you have preexisting dental problems. To make your life easier, schedule your oral exams as you stay on top of your kid’s dentist appointments.

Incorporating these oral hygiene tips into your daily morning and nighttime routine can help you to see amazing changes when it comes to your teeth, gums, and breath. Hey, maybe your dentist will even finally stop nagging you about flossing once they see all of the other great improvements you’ve made when it comes to oral hygiene.

  1. Brush Your Tongue: Know Your Teeth reports it’s just as important to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath as it is to brush your teeth.
  2. Stop Using Mouthwash Directly After Brushing: According to National Smile Month, you rinse away fluoride from your toothpaste when you use mouthwash right after brushing your teeth. To avoid this, opt to use mouthwash after lunch rather than directly after your morning brush.
  3. Properly Store Your Toothbrush: According to Mayo Clinic, there are simple steps that keep your toothbrush clean. The site noted that you should rinse your toothbrush after brushing, store it in an upright position to air-dry, and keep it away from closed containers to prevent growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast.
  4. Switch To A Soft-Bristled Toothbrush: According to Dr. Chris Nhan, a California dentist, toothbrushes with hard bristles can damage your gums and expose tooth root surfaces if they’re not used properly. When used properly, hard bristles can efficiently remove plague and tartar.
  5. Watch Your Calcium Intake: Dr. Ernest Greenwald, from a Richmond Hill family dentistry practice, says your calcium intake is just as important for your teeth as it is for your bones. Have a glass of milk in the morning or incorporate cheese into your lunch to increase your calcium intake.
  6. Limit The Amount Of Times You Brush: Complete Dental Health suggests you should brush your teeth twice daily — once in the morning and again at night. The site further noted that more is not better, since excessive brushing can weaken your teeth’s enamel.
  7. Visit Your Dentist Annually: The Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends that you should have an oral exam once or twice a year. If problems or concerns arise, don’t be afraid to contact your dentist to book additional appointments.
  8. Avoid Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard: According to Dr. Cindy Flanagan, a dentist for more than 25 years, you shouldn’t forcefully brush your teeth. She further recommended to use small, circular strokes to cover each tooth on all sides when brushing.
  9. Know When It’s Time To Replace Your Toothbrush: You should replace your toothbrush every two to three months, and even after you get sick. This will help to prevent germs from spreading in your mouth.
  10. Spend The Right Amount Of Time Brushing: The Health Site recommends that you brush each region of your mouth for at least 30 seconds. The site further noted that you should not brush horizontally along the gum line, since doing so can cause damage to it.
February, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

Why Oh Why Is There Phlegm?

Source: www.npr.com
Author:
Wendy Mitman Clarke

Struggling through a nasty round of bronchitis with little better to do than binge watch Netflix and feel epically sorry for myself, I pondered the ageless cold-and-flu-season question: Phlegm. Why?

It begs an answer. The human body is capable of such constant wonder, so much to awe and inspire. And then, phlegm. And not just a little phlegm. Gobs. It’s the only word that really describes the whole phlegm experience.

So I started asking around, and in so doing have learned that there’s a lot more to phlegm than meets the Kleenex.

First, some definitions. Phlegm is really just one form of mucus, which the body produces all over the place to perform useful tasks, says Murray Ramanathan Jr., medical director of otolaryngology head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Bethesda, Md. And because he suffers from chronic sinusitis himself, he gets the whole mucus thing on a pretty personal level.

“The entire lining of the respiratory tract, which includes the nose all the way to the bottom of the lung, makes mucus,” he says. Phlegm, he says, is limited to mucus made in the lung and in the trachea.

Or as Mark Rosen, a pulmonologist at Mount Sinai in New York and a past president of the American College of Chest Physicians, puts it: “Phlegm is something you cough up, not something you blow out.”

When everything is running smoothly, we produce phlegm and mucus every day — about a liter, Ramanathan says. We usually swallow that daily production without even noticing.

Both mucus and phlegm act as general maintenance and cleaning mechanisms, keeping airways moist and tidy and defending against the host of pollutants, particles, viruses and other things that do not belong in your nose or lungs.

“That’s often what you see when you blow your nose,” says Ramanathan, who studies the role of pollutants and environment in respiratory issues. “In foreign countries where diesel exhaust is a major contributor to air pollution and some people use wood fires indoors for cooking, you actually see black deposition and particles from the air pollution.”

But mucus also has an immunological role in sniffing out trouble. It provides proteins that are antiviral and antibacterial. Receptors on the epithelial cells in the airway sense threats and create bug-fighting enzymes in the mucus, which moves along via the cilia—microscopic hair-like structures that can provide propulsion to help eject the foreign substance.

What we call smoker’s cough, Ramanathan says, “is when the components of cigarette smoke get into the lung and cause mucus [and phlegm] to be produced, because cigarette smoke is an irritant to the respiratory lining in both the nose and the lung.”

This primary defense system can be overwhelmed by viruses, bacteria and the resulting inflammation of the airway. That’s when mucus and phlegm production go into overdrive. And often with the increase in quantity, the quality changes too, becoming thicker to better trap and remove the offending material. Before you know it, you’ve achieved gobs status.

Sometimes phlegm can morph from its usual clear to yellow or green, a byproduct of the white blood cells that have charged in to fight infection. And then we as patients get asked that question — What color is it? — since color can sometimes, although not always, indicate the presence of infection.

As someone who tries to avoid inspection of my own snot or phlegm, I’ve always found this a rather disgusting query. But Ramanathan sees it another way. “As a sinus doctor, one of the worst nightmares you get is when people bring into the office the little Ziploc baggie of, ‘Look what I coughed out yesterday!’ In rare cases, they bring in Tupperware.”

So what to do to survive the phlegm stage, besides stock up on tissues and make sure the iPad is fully charged for the Netflix binge? Antibiotics will only help if you have a bacterial infection, and the average cold, no matter how phlegmy, usually doesn’t qualify.

“Just because your phlegm is green doesn’t mean you need antibiotics,” Rosen says. “Your cold and mine, even if you’re coughing up stuff, is usually viral, and there are no antibiotics for a virus.”

If your phlegm gets too gob-like (technical term), over-the-counter meds like Mucinex can help thin it, which makes it easier to expel, Ramanathan says. For the sinuses, using a Neti pot or decongestants can aid the mucus flow, and bending over a pot of steaming water helps some people with the symptoms, he says. I can revert straight to my childhood with the scent of Vicks VapoRub, doubling the comfort factor. And of course, chicken soup.

Eventually, as the illness subsides and the airway calms down and is no longer irritated (phlegmatic, you could say), the system goes back to producing our regular ration of mucus. Something for which we should be grateful every day.

 

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

February, 2017|Oral Cancer News|

Bill Snyder Addresses Health Situation

Source: http://www.kstatesports.com

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder addressed today reports of his current health, which will not affect his duties leading the Wildcat program.

“I feel bad having to release this information about my health in this manner prior to sharing it in person with so many personal friends, distant family, players and their families, past and present, and many of the Kansas State football family so close to our program,” Snyder said. “But, with so much talk presently out there, I certainly owe it to everyone to make them aware of my condition.

“I have been diagnosed with throat cancer and have been receiving outpatient treatment at the KU Medical Center for about three weeks and am getting along very well. The doctors and staffs at both KU Med and M.D. Anderson (in Houston, Texas) have been great; working so very well together to finalize the overall treatment plan which is being conducted in Kansas City. Both ‘teams’ have projected a positive outcome and have worked out a schedule that allows me to be in Kansas City for my regular treatments and still be back in the office on a regular basis through the first week of March. Sean, along with our coaching and support staffs, remain highly productive in carrying out their responsibilities keeping us on track.

“I greatly appreciate our President, Richard Myers, and Athletic Director, John Currie, for their continued support, and I’m very grateful to those who have responded over the past 24 hours via calls, texts, emails, etc., with such kind thoughts and words. And again, my apology to each of you whom I did not have the opportunity to reach personally before this release.

“As I’ve said so often: we came to Kansas State University because of the people, we stayed because of the people and we came back because of you, the people. Nothing has changed.

“And most importantly, what an amazing personal family I have been blessed with: Sharon, our children: Sean, Shannon, Meredith, Ross and Whitney and their spouses, along with our eight grandchildren and one great grandchild, have been truly special and motivational for me and for each other during this brief setback. Sharon has made great sacrifices to help me through this and the kids are there every day with their love and encouragement. And today that same love and encouragement is coming from our Kansas State, Manhattan and community families.”

According to Snyder’s doctors, his prognosis is excellent. The hall of fame head coach fully expects to be on the field for the start of spring practice in March.

“Coach Snyder, his family, our football staff, student-athletes and athletics department administration have my full support,” said President Myers. “Coach is one of the most determined individuals I have ever met, and I know he will successfully complete this treatment program and be on the field with our student-athletes in no time.”

“Coach Snyder’s health is of the utmost importance, and he has our full support during this time,” Currie said. “We will provide all of the necessary accommodations he and his family need to ensure a smooth treatment process. He will remain our head coach during this treatment period, and we look forward to seeing him on the field this spring and in pursuit of career win No. 203 on September 2.”

K-State opens spring practice March 29 which will conclude with the Purple/White Spring Game on April 22.

 

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

 

February, 2017|Oral Cancer News|