OCF In The News

Study suggests that experience counts when it comes to head and neck cancer treatments

Source: medicalxpress.com
Author: staff
 

When it comes to specialized cancer surgery, it’s generally true that the more experienced the surgeon, the better the outcome. The same might hold true for radiation therapy used to treat head and neck cancer, according to a new study led by researchers Evan Wuthrick, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), and Maura Gillison, MD, PhD, professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the OSUCCC – James.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology with an accompanying editorial, the study compared survival and other outcomes in 470 patients treated with radiation therapy at 101 treatment centers through a clinical trial held from 2002 to 2005. The trial was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and organized by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG).

The findings indicated that patients treated at the less-experienced centers were more likely to have cancer recurrence (62 percent versus 42 percent at five years) and had poorer overall survival compared with those at the highly-experienced centers (51 percent versus 69 percent five-year survival, respectively).

“Our findings suggest that institutional experience strongly influences outcomes in patients treated with radiation therapy for head and neck cancer,” says Wuthrick, the paper’s first author. “They indicate that patients do better when treated at centers where more of these procedures are performed versus centers that do fewer.”

Radiation therapy for head and neck cancer requires complex treatment planning that can vary considerably between institutions and physicians. In addition, significant short-term and long-term side effects can occur that require management by a carefully coordinated multidisciplinary care team. National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend that head and neck cancer patients receive treatment at experienced centers, but whether provider experience affects outcomes was previously unknown.

Wuthrick, Gillison and their colleagues used participation in previous RTOG head and neck cancer clinical trials as a surrogate for experience. They identified 88 low-accruing centers that enrolled an average of four patients yearly to the trials, and 13 high-accruing centers that enrolled an average of 65 patients annually. Next, the researchers compared outcomes based on whether patients were treated at the high-accruing (more experienced) or low-accruing (less experienced) centers.

The study’s key findings include:

  • Five-year local recurrence rates were higher among patients treated at less experienced centers versus more experienced centers (36 percent and 21 percent, respectively);
  • The radiation therapy plan was more likely to deviate from protocol at less experienced centers (18 percent versus 6 percent);
  • Treatment at low-accruing centers was associated with a 91-percent increased risk of death and an 89-percent increase in progression or death when compared with high-accruing centers.

Institutional elements not assessed by the study that can also influence outcomes included use of a tumor board, the number of colleagues and their years of practice, and ancillary services such as speech and swallowing therapy, dietetic and nutritional support, and specialized nursing.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
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December, 2014|OCF In The News|

Hospital Cancer Program Confronts The Existential

Source: huffingtonpost.com
Author: Sasha Bronner

 
People who battle stage 4 cancer are familiar with words like chemotherapy, radiation and metastasize. But words they may not hear at a hospital as often are existentialism, mindfulness, legacy and humor.
Dr. Arash Asher at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is dedicating his life to changing that.

Asher, 38, is a physiatrist — a rehab doctor. Before his new program, Asher focused his training on the physical aspects of cancer treatment — things like cogitative rehab, and the management of pain and nausea. But a good number of patients kept coming back to him to talk about their deep and persistent fears. “We can treat someone’s physical pain, but I just felt like we weren’t doing enough as a system,” Asher says. “An antidepressant will not solve the issue.”
So Asher decided to create a rehabilitation program that focuses on the emotional fallout of cancer treatment. He recruited patients for the first course that began in mid-July and is currently in the fourth cycle of the program, called Growing Resiliency and Courage with Cancer, or GRACE.

Two hours a week, for five weeks, seven to nine patients meet in a conference room at Cedars-Sinai with Asher and Jeffrey Wertheimer, a neuropsychologist who co-developed the program. The group focuses discussions on themes or lessons — like wisdom, gratitude, humor, courage and legacy-creation. Patients are assigned homework reading, learn meditation techniques and conclude class with a piece on mindfulness.

The emphasis on mindfulness has a basis in research: it lowers the stress hormone cortisol and helps the brain control pain and emotions. That makes mindfulness a perfect tool for sick patients. Gratitude, a hallmark pillar of any mindfulness practice, has even been said to make us feel happier. Much of the GRACE programming is experimental, based on Asher’s instinct and clinical experience.

A book Asher read at age 17, by Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who also was a Holocaust survivor, has been a guiding inspiration for the Cedars-Sinai program.

Asher holds up an old copy of the book he’s kept since he was a teenager, the pages dog-eared and the edges frayed. “Frankl noticed that the people who survived the Holocaust weren’t necessarily the strongest or the most physical. They had this capacity to say, ‘I’m going to endure this pain and endure this humiliation because I have to write my book or I have to tell my story or I have to go back to my art.’”

Asher says his greatest lesson from Frankl’s memoir was this: “Nobody can take away the last of the human freedoms — which is one’s ability to choose his or her attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

This is the premise of Asher’s work — helping people cope with the inevitable and often painful conclusion of their lives. There are certain things you can’t treat with medications, Asher explains bluntly.

“When people come to you with fear — and these aren’t psychologically abnormal fears — these are people with stage 4 cancer and they are facing their own mortality, there’s a deep sense of loss of control,” Asher says. “Because you have no control over what your next CT scan will show or your next tumor marker.”

Instead of relying solely on anxiety medications, Asher uses tools like meditation and mindfulness, looking at how to find gratitude as a way to regain perspective.

“We’re never trying to be Pollyannaish, like, ‘Thank goodness for cancer because now you’re not materialistic.’ Or, ‘Thank goodness for cancer because now you know who your friends are,’” Asher says. “That’s just crap. But to say, ‘Okay, cancer is here. We are making the best of our circumstances. Are there things that we could gain that you were not really focusing on before?’”

So far, 22 patients have participated in the program. By early November, the total will be 31. Asher is keeping the groups small so that everyone gets attention and all voices are heard.

“We are used to prescribing meds and ordering tests and having control. But human nature is unpredictable and these are perceivably cheesy, non-scientific topics that we are covering,” he says.

For that very reason, Asher wasn’t always so convinced the program would be a hit. It took him nearly five years just to present the idea to colleagues.

“These are people with advanced-stage illnesses and my worst fear was wasting someone’s time when they don’t have a lot of time,” he says.

Matthew Morgan, 51, recently completed the GRACE program with Asher. After being diagnosed with head and neck cancer at the end of 2012, Morgan, a former television producer for shows like “Saved By The Bell” and “California Dreams,” had surgery to remove a portion of his tongue where a tumor was found. Despite a successful surgery, the cancer metastasized to his lungs, which made him a stage 4 cancer patient.

“Cancer is such a big umbrella. It covers a lot of different illnesses, different symptoms, different treatments, different prognoses,” Morgan explained in a quiet corner of the expansive waiting room at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai. “But there’s [always] something existential about it that is frightening.”

Morgan has a little trouble speaking, but manages well considering his surgery, which involved partial reconstruction of his tongue. “Over time, you learn how to work with what you have,” he says. “I had no idea that the surgery was going to be as dramatic as it was.”

Morgan has been through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, facing the unknown at every stage. As he spoke to HuffPost, he awaited new scans that would help show his prognosis. “I think it’s helpful to do more than just sit at home and scratch your head about it,” he says.

Morgan was an eager recruit when he first heard of the GRACE program in its nascent stage from Asher. He claims to have had no expectations, but was excited to participate.

GRACE is not a just a support group. It’s more than a venue for patients to share experiences with cancer. In fact, Asher asked GRACE patients if they would have participated if he had billed it as a support group. Almost no one said yes. “Most of these patients are tired of being in a situation where everyone is just kind of bitching,” he says.

The group discusses assigned poems and essays, watches “Seinfeld” clips to facilitate a conversation about humor, and learns meditation methods. With a lesson plan and structured discussion, the program is more college course than group therapy.

One of Asher’s favorite lessons is on legacy creation. He observes that people often have the idea that a legacy is something tangible to be handed down to children.

“But we really reframe it as, ‘What do you want to be known for?’ ‘What is your identity?’ Because if you know where you want to go, you can live your life now working towards those goals,” Asher says.

The GRACE program also is shorter than a support group — just five weeks. For some participants, that’s about all the time they have left.

“Several people who have done the class have already passed,” Asher says. “I think it gave them something to focus on and think about. It gave them a sense of control.”

Morgan says he identified most deeply with the concept that he can choose his response to his situation. “This can be a very powerful tool for dealing with something like cancer,” he says. “The notion that you’re not responsible for it, but you’re response-able to deal with it.”

The sense of ownership has larger implications for the larger conversation about cancer. When asked what he feels is missing from the national dialogue about cancer, Asher doesn’t hesitate. “The idea that it’s possible to heal even if you can’t be cured,” he says.

That feeling was echoed in a recent email from one of Asher’s patients who had reached the end of his treatment options. Asher was eager to share the note, albeit anonymously. It read:

“As someone expressed at our last class ‘we are as one.’ However anyone else responded to treatment, I responded differently. To hear ‘me too,’ from everyone in the group was unbelievably bonding.”

“So much of the focus tends to be on the cure. And our patients identify themselves with that: cured or not cured,” Asher says.

He recalls his original inspiration in Frankl, who was able to keep his full identity in mind, despite his circumstances in the concentration camp. This ability, Asher believes, allowed Frankl to persevere, cope — and find solace in others.

“For the first time in many years,” the dying patient concluded his email. “I did not feel alone.”

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
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October, 2014|OCF In The News|

Oral Cancer Survivor Eva Grayzel Talks About Her Efforts to Make A Difference

Source: www.lehighvalleylive.com
Author: Andrew James Sheldon

 

As an oral cancer survivor, Eva Grayzel knows how lucky she is.

She organizes an annual awareness walk for what she says is an often overlooked disease.

“I was diagnosed sixteen years ago and I am so lucky to be articulate,” she said. “I can’t ethically live my life as I do without doing whatever I can to make sure what happened to me doesn’t happen to other people.”

Grayzel survived stage four oral cancer, which is the most serious of the four stages. She has served as the chair of the oral cancer awareness walk in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, for six years. This year’s walk is Sept. 27.

Grayzel says that raising awareness is the key step to catching the disease early before it can do the most damage. Other survivors will join her in the walk.

“There are going to be 20 survivors who have all been diagnosed late and most of them have facial disfigurements. They can’t speak normally, some of them can’t speak,” she said. “It’s devastating. Oral cancer steals things we take for granted such basic human needs, everything social.”

Grayzel’s group helped organize a continuing education class for dentists to learn about oral cancer and its connection with the human papillomavirus. Symptoms of oral cancer are sometimes unrecognized by sufferers and doctors.

Eileen Ciszak lost her daughter as a result of a misdiagnosis.

“The doctor gave her an antibiotic and told her to see her dentist, that she probably had a cracked tooth,” she said. “By the time she got there, the dentist knew immediately she needed to pursue this and the next day she was having a biopsy done.”

Thanks to the support of people like Ciszak, the walk has been growing. They had attended the walk once several years ago, but stopped after their daughter died.

“The first year we attended the walk, at that time my daughter had just had her oral cancer surgery, and we wanted to show our support,” Ciszak said. “Ten months after we attended the walk, she had passed away and it was just very difficult for us to really get involved at that point.”

After some healing, Ciszak decided to return.

“We just wanted to try to help organize, to create awareness with our story, be there to support others who have lost loved ones and support the survivors,” she said.

Eva GrayzelEva Grayzel, walk chairwoman, attended the 2013 Oral Cancer Foundation Walk for Awareness with her husband, Ken Cohen.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
 
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Cowboy Cody Kiser Joins Anti-Tobacco Campaign to Help Educate Young Consumers

Source: parade.condenast.com
Author: Lindsay Lowe

 

The campaign to educate consumers about the dangers of tobacco has a new all-American hero: rodeo cowboy Cody Kiser, who’s partnering with the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) to educate parents and kids about the health risks associated with smokeless tobacco.

While chewing tobacco has long been popular among rodeo cowboys, Kiser, 23, says the drug never appealed to him, and says he hopes to serve as a positive example in an industry with traditionally strong sponsorship ties to the tobacco industry.

“My dad was a cowboy, so I know what it’s like looking up to cowboys as heroes for my whole life,” he said in a release. “Health and fitness have always been incredibly important to my family. My dad was a positive role model in my life growing up in that regard, and the idea of using spit tobacco never appealed to me.”

Tobacco and rodeo have a long intertwining history; the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association was sponsored by the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company from 1986 to 2009, when the Cowboys Association decided to end its relationship with tobacco advertisers.

One can of spit tobacco has the equivalent nicotine of 40 cigarettes, and a “30-minute chew” is the equivalent of smoking three cigarettes, according to the OCF, meaning that an addiction to smokeless tobacco “can be one of the hardest to break.”

Spit tobacco (which can refer to smokeless tobacco, dip, snuff, chew, and chewing tobacco) can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and “white patches and oral lesion that can lead to oral cancer.”

An alarming “15 percent of high school boys, and 9 percent of all high school students, are already using spit tobacco,” the foundation says, while 3.5 percent of adults use the drug. An estimated 43,000 people will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer in 2014, and the “fastest-growing segment” of that group are “young non-smokers,” says the OCF.

Kiser says he hopes to serve as a role model for young people who idolize rodeo heroes and prevent them from becoming another oral cancer statistic.

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

 

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Cowboy becomes advocate for Oral Cancer Foundation

Source: Idaho Press-Tribune/www.idahopress.com
Author: Kelcie Moseley
 

Brian Hill was a self-professed health freak.

He was an outdoorsman who had never used tobacco. He was a fit 230 pounds with 8 percent body fat. But a lump in the side of his neck changed his life in 1997.

Hill is the founder and president of the Oral Cancer Foundation, a small national nonprofit organization based in Newport Beach, California. He is an oral cancer survivor who contracted the disease through human papillomavirus, or HPV, which happens more often than people think, Hill said.

He is now a fierce advocate for more awareness of the disease, which is also often caused by smoking or chewing tobacco — and those two forms of tobacco are about as common with the rodeo crowd as Coors and Budweiser. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 14 percent of boys ages 12 to 17 use smokeless tobacco nationwide, and the rates are higher in rural states.

The newest effort to achieve more awareness and early detection of oral cancer starts with Cody Kiser, the new rodeo representative for the foundation.

Kiser, 23, is a bareback bronco rider who competed in the Snake River Stampede this week on his rodeo circuit. He graduated in May with a civil engineering degree from the University of Nevada-Reno, not far from his hometown of Carson City.

“We’ve wanted to (have a rodeo representative) for about five years, we just never found the right person who was the right voice for the foundation,” Hill said.

That all changed in March, when an employee at the foundation brought up Kiser’s name as a potential candidate for the role. Kiser has never smoked or chewed, which made him an ideal choice.

“I attribute a lot of that to my father and grandfather and family growing up. Nobody chewed,” Kiser said. “It just never was for me, and I just never got into it.”

He added that his family — particularly his mother — would have had plenty to say about it if they found out he was using tobacco.

Kiser agreed to fill the role for the foundation, and the Stampede was his debut. Thursday was the first day he wore a shirt sporting the logo and slogan, “Be Smart, Don’t Start,” down the sleeve. A few of his rodeo buddies had already asked questions about it by Thursday night.

“I tell them we’re just here to give them information about the risks involved and what can happen,” Kiser said.

More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a type of oral cancer this year, Hill said. It will cause more than 8,000 deaths, killing close to one person every hour. Of those newly diagnosed, only 57 percent will still be alive within five years. Hill is one of the luckier half, even though his diagnosis came when he was already at Stage IV, 18 to 30 months in. And even though he survived, a portion of the right side of his neck needed to be removed.

“It’s a brutal disease to go through,” Hill said. “… We have a death rate that’s just brutal. And if you live, you may not have a tongue, you may not be able to swallow food, people may not be able to understand what you’re saying.”

Though tobacco use is highly popular among rodeo competitors and audiences, Hill said the sport has moved away from tobacco companies in recent years. In 2009, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association ended its national sponsorship contract with the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company. Hill said that has made the sport more appealing as a family event, and it gives the foundation a good place to start. But he believes there is more work to be done, and the foundation will partner with Kiser to get its message into more rodeo programs and public service announcements.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “We’re feeling our way through rodeo right now, and by the end of the year we’ll have a better idea of what this looks like.”

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

 

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July, 2014|OCF In The News|

Grateful Dead guitarist plays concerts with tribute band to benefit the Oral Cancer Foundation

Source: truebluetribune.com
Author: staff

Mark Karan, former lead guitarist for the post Grateful Dead band, The Other Ones, and Joe Pulitano, drummer for the Grateful Dead tribute band, Deadbeat, who are both stage IV oral cancer survivors, recently teamed up to play three benefit concerts in the North East to raise money for the Oral Cancer Foundation and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Following Deadbeat’s benefit performances this spring, with Mark playing guest guitar, the two men donated $7,500 of the concert proceeds to the Oral Cancer Foundation to support the organization’s research, advocacy, and educational efforts.

What’s interesting is how these two talented musicians, who did not know each other before their individual encounters with this deadly disease, came together. Like many who find themselves dealing with oral cancer, Joe had complained for 14 months to his doctor about voice change, shortness of breath when speaking, and a sore throat. He was eventually diagnosed with stage IV head and neck cancer. Years before Mark’s diagnosis with oral cancer, and after Jerry Garcia’s death, he was chosen to share his lead guitar slot with Steve Kimock in the Other Ones. Just two years ago, while laying in a hospital bed, Mark asked his wife to hand him his guitar and a piece of paper. Twenty minutes later, “Walk Through Fire” was written, a song about his personal resolve, humility, acceptance, courage and lessons learned in his brush with the life-threatening disease. “It was one of those songs you hope for, when the universe says, ‘I’ve got a gift for you,” Karan, now cancer free, shared with us.

Close to a year after Joe’s treatment ended, his oncologist, Dr. Marshall Posner, approached him and his wife to discuss the formation of a Patient Advocacy Group (PAG). A few weeks later, after agreeing to the venture, he heard an interview with Mark Karan about his own battle with head and neck cancer. Just a few months after that, Joe saw Mark perform and reached out to the guitarist through an email address he found on his website. Joe told us, “I sent him an email about Dr. Posner’s idea of a PAG. I told him I wasn’t looking for money, or back stage passes, or a benefit concert – in fact I didn’t know what I was looking for – maybe just to lend his name and experience to the cause.”

Two hours after sending that email, Joe received an email back from Mark’s wife saying that of course he would be involved, after all it was his doctors in San Francisco that had reached out to Dr. Posner (Joe’s treating doctor) for guidance on a treatment that would not involve surgery and a possible end to Mark’s ability to sing. After meeting that fall, their friendship, and subsequent advocacy work, began. They are now able to perform together as survivors in support of the cause that nearly took their lives. Profoundly changed by their individual cancer experiences, they are most certainly thriving and spreading awareness along the way.

A little back ground on oral cancer – Approximately 43,250 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. When found early; there is an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. However, due to a lack of public awareness, the majority of cases are found at late stages and treatment morbidity is significantly higher, survival rates lower. Early detection is the key to survival so the need of an annual oral cancer screening is of the utmost importance.

The Oral Cancer Foundation is a national public service, non-profit entity designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and support activities. Check out www.oralcancerfoundation.org to learn more about risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatments, current research and current oral cancer related news, among other important information. A FREE patient/survivor discussion forum is also open to the public, where those currently fighting oral cancer can gain insights and inspiration from those who have been there before them.

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The Eighth Annual Oral Cancer Walk for Awareness of New York at NYU raises more than $50,000

Source: dental.nyu.edu
Author: Staff

 

On Sunday, April 21, 2013, oral cancer survivors and their families joined dental students from the NYU chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), residents, dental hygiene students, nursing students, faculty, and staff from the NYU Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing for the eighth annual NYC Oral Cancer Awareness Walk, which set out from the Kissena Park Velodrome in Queens for a four-mile walk, ending at Citi Field, home of the Mets.

The event attracted 600-plus walkers and raised over $50,000 — the highest total to date – for oral cancer awareness, prevention, and treatment. In addition to NYUCD and NYUCN, sponsors included Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, the NYU Oral Cancer Center, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, the Oral Cancer Foundation, New York Hospital in Queens, the Oral Cancer Consortium, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the UMDNJ New Jersey Dental School, and Boulevard Dental Center. Free oral cancer screenings were available throughout the event.

A highlight of the event was remarks by U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-Queens), whose husband is Dr. Wayne Kye, ’02, clinical assistant professor of periodontology and implant dentistry.

As he has done since 2006, Dr. Ross Kerr, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine, provided invaluable strategic advice, encouragement, and support to the extraordinary student volunteers who made the walk such a great success.

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

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Aspen Dental and The Oral Cancer Foundation join together and conducted over 2,400 oral cancer screenings in April

Source: sacbee.com
Author: Aspen Dental
 
 

SYRACUSE, N.Y., May 29, 2014 — Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the U.S., conducted 2,420 oral cancer screenings at Aspen Dental locations during the month of April, resulting in a $12,100 donation to The Oral Cancer Foundation. The program, which included a $5 donation for each screening conducted, was run throughout the Aspen Dental network, which includes more than 450 practices across 27 states.

Since 2010, Aspen Dental has donated more than $63,000 to The Oral Cancer Foundation.

“Each year, oral cancer kills more people in the U.S. than other more widely known forms of cancer, including skin, lymphatic, thyroid, and cervical cancers,” said Jamie O’Day, Director of Operations for The Oral Cancer Foundation. “The funds raised through Aspen Dental’s oral cancer screening campaign in April are imperative to help OCF continue to sponsor research, provide patient support, education, and early detection initiatives which are all related to our mission. We are proud to be associated with an organization that makes oral cancer screenings a priority in their practices.”

According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 43,250 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. This is the eighth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers, in 2007 there was a major jump of over 11% in that single year.

“Unfortunately many patients are not familiar with the risk factors or symptoms that serve as warning signs of oral cancer,” said Dr. Thomas Nguyen lead dentist at the Aspen Dental office in Tucson, AZ. “In April, we met with many patients who were previously unaware of traditional oral cancer screenings, but were eager to have them done and learn more about the risk factors associated with oral cancer. We hope that our efforts this month helped to educate about the importance of detecting the cancer early on, when it is most treatable.”

To learn more about what to expect during an oral cancer screening, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website at http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/how_do_you_know.html.

About Aspen Dental Aspen Dental is one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the U.S. with more than 450 practices in communities across 27 states. As part of its mission to provide America with a healthy mouth, Aspen Dental is providing millions of Americans with access to quality, affordable dental care. Every Aspen Dental-branded practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work.

In 2013, Aspen Dental-branded practices recorded nearly 2.9 million patient visits and welcomed more than 600,000 new patients. The dentists and staff at Aspen Dental-branded practices have a deep commitment to patient satisfaction, and every Aspen Dental location is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

Aspen Dental practices are supported by Aspen Dental Management, Inc., a dental support organization that provides non-clinical business support to licensed, independent dentists.

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

 
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HPV Can Damage Genes and Chromosomes Directly, Whole-Genome Sequencing Study Shows

Press release from the James Cancer Center 

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The virus that causes cervical, head and neck, anal and other cancers can damage chromosomes and genes where it inserts its DNA into human DNA, according to a new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

It’s long been known that cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV)  produce two viral proteins, called E6 and E7, which are essential for the development of cancer. However, they are not sufficient to cause cancer. Additional alterations in host-cell genes are necessary for cancer to develop. Here, scientists identified a new mechanism by which HPV may damage host DNA directly and contribute to cancer development.

Published in the journal Genome Research, this laboratory study used whole-genome sequencing to investigate the relationship between the HPV and host genomes in human cancers.

“Our sequencing data showed in vivid detail that  HPV can damage host-cell genes and chromosomes at sites of viral insertion,” says co-senior author David Symer, MD, PhD, assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics at the OSUCCC – James.

“HPV can act like a tornado hitting the genome, disrupting and rearranging nearby host-cell genes,” Symer explains. “This can lead to overexpression of cancer-causing genes in some cases, or it can disrupt protective tumor-suppressor genes in others. Both kinds of damage likely promote the development of cancer.”

“We observed fragments of the host-cell genome to be removed, rearranged or increased in number at sites of HPV insertion into the genome,” says co-senior author Maura Gillison, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, epidemiology and otolaryngology and the Jeg Coughlin Chair of Cancer Research at the OSUCCC – James. “These remarkable changes in host genes were accompanied by increases in the number of HPV copies in the host cell, thereby also increasing the expression of viral E6 and E7, the cancer-promoting genes.”

HPV causes about 610,000 cancers annually worldwide, including virtually all cervical cancers, and many anogenital and head and neck cancers. How it causes cancer isn’t completely understood.

The two cancer-causing proteins, E6 and E7, silence two key tumor-suppressor genes in host cells, contributing to cancer development. “E6 and E7 are critically important for the virus to cause cancer. Our findings shed light on how HPV, and perhaps other viruses, can disrupt the structure of host chromosomes and genes and thereby contribute to cancer development,” Gillison explains.

For this study, Symer, Gillison and their colleagues examined 10 cancer-cell lines and two head and neck tumor samples from patients. Along with whole-genome sequencing, the scientists used several molecular assays, including RNA sequencing, spectral karyotyping (SKY) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH).

Key technical findings included:

• The genome-wide analysis, at single nucleotide resolution, identified a striking and recurrent association between HPV integrants and adjacent genomic amplifications, deletions and translocations;

• The HPV integrants mapped broadly across the human genome, with no evidence of recurrent integration into particular chromosomal hotspots;

• The researchers proposed a “looping” model by which abnormal viral replication results in the extraordinary damage that occurs to host chromosomes at the sites of viral DNA insertion.

“Our study reveals new and interesting information about what happens to HPV in the ‘end game’ in cancers,” Symer says. “Overall, our results shed new light on the potentially critical, catastrophic steps in the progression from initial viral infection to development of an HPV-associated cancer.”

Funding from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), the Ohio Supercomputer Center, an Ohio Cancer Research Associate grant, the Oral Cancer Foundation and the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, supported this research.

 

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A great company teams up with great employees to raise money for Oral Cancer

As a result of a great company and their employees, at a second annual 5K run and two mile walk for Team Berry at a local event this year in South Carolina, their efforts have raised more than $2,900 which was donated to the Oral Cancer Foundation to be used for oral cancer research.

Shelly BlevinsSixty-four employees, spouses and children of Berry Home Centers and Berry Iron and Metal Company participated in the 5K and walk this year, more than double the participants last year, because the companies were running for a cause. Both were running for Jeremy Blevins, 42, who passed away Aug. 3 after a courageous battle with oral cancer, and his family. Jeremy is the nephew of Tom and Kyra Bishop who own Berry Home Centers and Berry Iron and Metal Company and also the nephew of Steve Kegley, Kyra’s brother and manager of the Abingdon Berry Home Centers’ store.

Berry’s offered to donate $20 for every mile walked or run by employees in this year’s race to the Oral Cancer Foundation in Jeremy’s honor. Employees completed a 145.1 miles during the 5K and 2 mile walk, so Berry’s donated $2,902 to the Oral Cancer Foundation as a result.

Jeremey Blevins wife, Shelley Blevins, pictured above with their son, Bise, and friend, is also coordinating the inaugural Oral Cancer Foundation Run For Awareness in Memory of Jeremy Blevins on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The event will take place at Springmaid Park located at Baxter Village. Please visit the event page at: http://donate.oralcancer.org/index.cfmfuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=583

In difficult times like these, when great individuals team up with great companies, great things can happen.

 

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