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    “They don’t care:” Hamilton senior left five months without a voice

    Wed, Sep 23, 2015


    Source: www.thespec.com
    Author: Joanna Frketich

    Donna Thombs has not uttered a word in five long months.

    The east Hamilton senior is desperate to get her voice back, but has so far faced a waiting list with no room for compassion at St. Joseph’s hospital.

    “It’s terrible,” mouths Thombs. “They don’t care.”

    The only sound is wheezing as she attempts to talk with gestures along with slowly mouthing out words using exaggerated movements. It takes multiple attempts to get across even the simplest words. Often, she shakes her head and just gives up.

    amilton Spectator Donna Thombs has been living in silence for five months as she awaits an operation to restore her voice following surgery for throat cancer.

    Credit: Hamilton Spectator
    Donna Thombs has been living in silence for five months as she awaits an operation to restore her voice following surgery for throat cancer.

    “Try not talking for one day,” she mouths. “I’ve done it for months. Now, it’s really starting to get to me.”

    Thombs says the surgical procedure essential to giving her a voice takes roughly 20 minutes. She came achingly close when it was scheduled for Aug. 26, only to have it cancelled.

    As of Friday, Thombs had been given no information by the office of head and neck surgeon Dr. Michael Gupta on how much longer she’d have to wait.

    She’d been told her case was a low priority despite the safety concerns of a woman in her 80s living alone with no voice to call for help. Her relatives phone to check on her but her only way to communicate with them is to knock once to let them know she is well or twice if she needs them to come and help her out.

    “I feel horrible she’s had to go through that kind of wait,” said Anne Marie MacDonald, director of surgery at St. Joseph’s. “We should have done better for this lady.”

    MacDonald says she only became aware of Thombs’ plight after being contacted by The Spectator. She says she’s now working with the surgeon to get the procedure done “expeditiously.”

    “It’s important to express our apologies,” she said. “We’ll be working with Dr. Gupta’s office to facilitate something to happen for her as soon as possible.”

    It all started when Thombs was diagnosed with throat cancer in January. She had to go through a laryngectomy which removed all of her voice box and left her breathing through a hole in her throat.

    Initially, she was expected to have received a tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis, a device that produces a sound source for the voice so she could speak again, by the end of May.

    But a key tube that keeps open a space for the device to be put in fell out on a Saturday in May. Thombs said she had not been instructed on what to do if the tube fell out or told it would be an emergency that needed immediate treatment.

    She was not in any pain or medical distress so she waited to call the surgeon’s office when it opened again on Monday. By that time the space had closed, requiring a surgical procedure to reopen it.

    She has been waiting for that procedure ever since. She says every time she calls she’s told that the surgeon only has a limited amount of operating room time and it all goes to urgent cancer patients.

    St. Joseph’s does have one of the shortest waits in the province for head and neck cancer surgery, with patients waiting far below the provincial target in the Ministry of Health’s public report for May to July.

    “Our head and neck cancer physicians work hard to have patients wait the minimal time we can manage,” said MacDonald. “The surgeons themselves in their offices prioritize in order of acuity.”

    But MacDonald said a “rare complication” like Thombs’ should have been given a higher priority.

    Thombs said she’s been shocked by the “world of discrimination” she has faced since losing her voice. She says people treat her like she is “stupid” when she communicates at stores or the bank with handwritten notes.

    “If they don’t do it soon, I’m going across the border,” she mouthed. “I’ll pay for it myself.”

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    No definite symptom index for recurrence in head and neck cancer, small study suggests

    Wed, Sep 23, 2015



    In patients treated for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), there was no definite index of symptoms that indicated local recurrence or second primary malignancy in a small Taiwanese study published online ahead of print in Head & Neck.1

    In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, there was no definite index of symptoms to indicate recurrence or second malignancy.

    In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, there was no definite index of symptoms to indicate recurrence or second malignancy.

    Pei-Hsuan Lin, MD, and fellow researchers from the National Taiwan University examined 136 patients with HNSCC who were diagnosed between January 2010 and June 2014, 32 of whom had local recurrence and 14 of whom had second primary malignancy.

    “The purposes of this study were to identify an index of symptoms and signs of swallowing disorders that indicate the occurrence of local recurrence or second primary malignancy,” the authors noted.

    They found that common swallowing disorders and objective transnasal esophagoscopy findings were similar between patients with and without local recurrence or second primary malignancy.

    “Routine transnasal esophagoscopy examination of patients treated for HNSCC with swallowing disorders is strongly recommended,” the authors concluded.

    Lin P-H, Wang C-P, Lou P-J, et al. Evaluation of swallowing disorders by use of transnasal esophagoscopy in patients treated for head and neck cancer. [published online ahead of print September 2, 2015]. Head Neck. doi: 10.1002/hed.24174.

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    Vaccine law should cover HPV cancers

    Wed, Sep 23, 2015


    Source: www.sacbee.com
    Author: Brandon Brown

    Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. Gov. Jerry Brown rightly signed a law that requires, starting July 1, 2016, that all children enrolled in public or private schools or day care be vaccinated against whooping cough, measles, polio and other diseases, regardless of parents’ religious or personal beliefs. But frustratingly, the California mandate does not include the vaccine to protect against cervical, anal and oral cancers, and genital warts.

    HPV vaccines have been around for 10 years. Three types exist, with the newest providing the highest protection against chronic infection and precancerous conditions among boys and girls. Despite the recommendations of major health groups, national data show only 57 percent of adolescent females and 35 percent of males received at least one dose of the three-dose HPV vaccine series in 2013. HPV vaccine has the lowest completion rate of any vaccine in the United States.

    There may be several explanations for this. One is the short time that providers have available to stress the need for early vaccination during a normal medical visit, much less to address parents’ concerns about implicitly sanctioning sexual activity. But the vaccine is linked to age rather than sexual activity, and postponing it until after boys and girls start having sex decreases its effectiveness.

    Another reason for low vaccination rates is that it requires tremendous work, including training health care providers on how to promote HPV vaccine as a cancer-prevention tool similar to hepatitis B vaccine, which has a similar route of transmission. With hepatitis B, sex is not part of the discussion, and HPV should be treated the same way.

    We must applaud Rhode Island for recently joining Washington, D.C., and Virginia for incorporating all vaccines recommended by pediatricians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including HPV, into their school immunization regulations.

    More than 14 million HPV infections occur annually in the United States. With such a sobering statistic, no sound justification can be made for HPV vaccines to be treated differently than other recommended vaccines. It’s time for solutions instead of excuses.

    Author: Brandon Brown is an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine.

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    Spreading awareness and saving lives — Oral Cancer Foundation’s Walk for Awareness may be coming to a city near you!

    Tue, Sep 22, 2015


    Source: www.prnewswire.com
    Author: press release

    Oral cancer has historically existed outside the awareness of much of the public, yet in the U.S. it claims one life every hour of every day of the year. This year alone, approximately 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. This number is on the rise and The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) needs help spreading awareness about this devastating disease. OCF is working in communities across the country to bring “Walk for Awareness” events to the public, and with them the opportunity to engage in a conversation that too few people are having.

    These events raise awareness of a disease that far too many Americans have never even heard of. Most events also incorporate free to the public oral cancer screenings, providing the opportunity to educate attendees about the early signs and symptoms of oral cancer while also instilling the importance of early detection and need for annual oral cancer screenings. To see if an OCF Walk for Awareness is taking place near you, visit oralcancer.org and click support to view an interactive map of the organization’s upcoming events.

    OCF has been raising awareness and providing support in communities for 16 years in cities scattered across the US. Here are a just a few of the remaining Fall 2015 events:

    • The 5th Annual Oral Cancer Foundation Walk/Fun Run for Awareness – Twin Cities, Minnesota, will take place this Sunday, September 27, 2015 at City of Eagan Community Center. For more details, to register and donate please visit, donate.oralcancer.org/event/twincities2015.
    • The 9th Annual Oral Cancer Foundation Walk/Run for Awareness – Boston, Massachusetts, will take place on Sunday, October 4, 2015. This event has been taking place for nearly a decade! Please join OCF this year at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Brighton, Massachusetts. For more information about this event, to register or donate please visit, donate.oralcancer.org/event/boston2015.
    • The 2nd Annual Oral Cancer Walk/Run for Awareness – Southern California will take place on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, CA. Please visit, donate.oralcancer.org/event/southerncalifornia to find out more.

    Participating in and supporting an OCF event helps the foundation accomplish many of its important missions. As a national public-service, 501c3 non-profit entity, OCF’s mission is to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support activities. In addition to OCF’s community outreach activities, the foundation hosts the websites oralcancer.org and oralcancersupport.org to deliver free and vetted oral cancer health information to the public including the risk factors that lead to oral cancer, signs and symptoms, treatments, current research, complications of treatment, nutrition, related clinical trials, and current oral cancer related news.

    Through the small event registration fees and community fundraising, OCF’s national walk events pay for the many missions of the foundation related to this disease. The money funds researchers working on various components of the problem, pays for advocacy work at places as diverse as the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, The Centers for Disease Control, and even in the political components of our government. By participating in an OCF event, you can help further progress against a disease that takes far too many lives.

    About the Oral Cancer Foundation:
    The Oral Cancer Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 national public service, non-profit entity designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and support activities. Visit 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.

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    Vaccine clears some precancerous cervical lesions in clinical trial

    Mon, Sep 21, 2015


    Source: www.sciencedaily.com
    Author: Mark L Bagarazzi, MD et al.

    Scientists have used a genetically engineered vaccine to successfully eradicate high-grade precancerous cervical lesions in nearly one-half of women who received the vaccine in a clinical trial. The goal, say the scientists, was to find nonsurgical ways to treat precancerous lesions caused by HPV.

    “Every standard therapeutic option for women with these lesions destroys part of the cervix, which is particularly relevant for women of childbearing age, who may then be at risk for preterm birth due to a weakened cervix,” says Cornelia Trimble, M.D., professor of gynecology and obstetrics, oncology, and pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and first author of the new report, which appears online Sept. 17 in The Lancet. “A vaccine able to cure precancerous lesions could eventually be one way women can avoid surgery that is invasive and can also harm their fertility.”

    High-grade cervical lesions, termed CIN2/3, occur most often in women 40 or younger, according to Trimble, a member of Johns Hopkins’ Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service and Kimmel Cancer Center. Because the lesions can progress to cancer, they are usually removed by surgery, freezing or laser. The procedures are successful in removing the precancerous areas in approximately 80 percent of women, says Trimble. Less troublesome lesions, called low-grade dysplasia, are usually monitored by physicians rather than immediately removed because they pose less of a risk for cancer and usually regress on their own.

    For the study, the scientists used a vaccine, originally developed by University of Pennsylvania scientist David Weiner, Ph.D., which is engineered to teach immune system cells to recognize precancerous and cancerous cells. Those cells are coated with proteins linked to an infection with two strains of HPV — 16 and 18 — that cause cervical cancer. The vaccine, given by injection into the arm, is made by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., which funded the clinical trial, and whose employees co-authored the report with Trimble.

    Between 2011 and 2013, the scientists recruited 167 women, ages 18 to 55, with newly diagnosed, high-grade precancerous cervical lesions. The women were randomly assigned to receive either three doses of the vaccine or saline injections over a 12-week period at 36 hospitals and private gynecology practices in the U.S. and six other countries.

    After each of the injections, the scientists gave the women a small electric pulse at the site of the injection. Cells near the electric pulse open their pores, says Trimble, increasing the likelihood that the vaccine will be taken up by immune system cells.

    Of 114 women who received at least one vaccine dose, 55 (48.2 percent) had a regression of their precancerous lesion, meaning their lesions disappeared or converted to low-grade lesions, compared with 12 of 40 (30 percent) who received saline injections. Of the 114, 107 received all three vaccine doses, and 53 of them (49.5 percent) had regression of their lesions. Of the 40 in the saline group, 36 got all three injections, and 11 of them (30.6 percent) had regression of their lesions. Thirteen women dropped out of the study after enrollment.

    Two patients discontinued the study because of pain at the injection site. Skin redness was more common in the vaccine group compared with saline.

    Among women who completed all three injections, scientists could find no trace of HPV in the cervixes of 56 of the 107 women who received the vaccine, compared with only nine of 35 saline recipients.

    “In many of these women, the vaccine not only made their lesions disappear, but it also cleared the virus from their cervix,” says Trimble. “In most unvaccinated patients whose lesions went away, the virus was still present, and many still had low-grade lesions.”

    Trimble says clearance of the virus is a “significant bonus” from receiving the vaccine because persistent HPV infection is a major risk factor for recurrence of cervical lesions.

    After 12 weeks, doctors surgically removed lesions that did not regress and took biopsies of each study participant’s cervix. In the surgically removed lesions, scientists found miniscule cancers in two of the women who received the vaccine. Trimble says these microinvasive cancers are rarely diagnosed by a biopsy but are found in surgical specimens.

    n the biopsy samples, the scientists found that patients whose lesions completely regressed after treatment had more immune cells, called T cells, present in the tissue. “It’s important that T cells capable of recognizing HPV stay in the cervix and fight off any recurrence of the infection,” says Trimble.

    “This is a great first step,” says Trimble. “We showed that the vaccine may enable an immune response in a person whose immune system was initially not adequately engaged or was hampered in some way so as to let the lesion occur.”

    Trimble says that precancerous lesions are unlikely to progress to cancer during the vaccine treatment period, and monitoring of high-grade lesions is done routinely for pregnant women. “It typically takes about 10 or more years for precancerous cells to become cancer, so there is a window of opportunity to intervene with nonsurgical approaches to reverse the process of viral-associated cancers,” says Trimble.

    Trimble says she and her colleagues are now working to identify biomarkers from cervical tissue that can predict which lesions are more likely to persist and eventually progress to cancer. The research team will be monitoring this initial group of study participants to see whether they have fewer recurrences than unvaccinated patients. Trimble is also studying other types of vaccines to prevent the progression of high-grade cervical lesions to cancer.


    Trimble received an unrestricted grant from Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., but she has no other financial or consulting arrangements with the company.

    In addition to Trimble, scientists who contributed to the research include Lance Edwards from Suffolk Obstetrics and Gynecology in Port Jefferson, New York; R. Lamar Parker from Lyndhurst Gynecologic Associates in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Lynette Denny from the University of Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa; David B. Weiner from the University of Pennsylvania; and Matthew P. Morrow, Kimberly A. Kraynyak, Xuefei Shen, Michael Dallas, Jian Yan, Mary Giffear, Ami Shah Brown, Kathleen Marcozzi-Pierce, Divya Shah, Anna M. Slager, Albert J. Sylvester, Amir Khan, Kate E. Broderick, Robert J. Juba, Timothy A. Herring, Jean Boyer, Jessica Lee, Niranjan Y. Sardesai, David B. Weiner and Mark L Bagarazzi from Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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

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    Imaging method has potential to stratify head and neck cancer patients

    Sat, Sep 19, 2015


    Source: www.eurekalert.org
    Author: press release

    Manchester researchers have identified a potential new way to predict which patients with head and neck cancer may benefit most from chemotherapy.

    These patients commonly receive pre-treatment induction chemotherapy, before either surgery or radiotherapy, to reduce the risk of disease spread. However the effectiveness of such treatment is reduced in tumours with poor blood flow.

    Previous studies have shown that CT scans can be used to assess tumour blood flow. Now researchers at The University of Manchester and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust – both part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre – have explored the use of MRI scans in predicting which patients would benefit from induction chemotherapy.

    Professor Catharine West, who led the study, said: “It’s also important to identify those patients who are unlikely to respond to induction therapy so that we can skip ahead in the treatment pathway and offer them potentially more effective treatments and hopefully improve their outcome.”

    The team used an imaging technique known as dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI), where a contrast agent tracer is injected into a patient’s vein whilst they have a series of MRI scans taken. This allows scientists and doctors to investigate the blood flow and vessel structure of a patient’s tumour.

    They found that the blood flow of a patient’s tumour before they received induction therapy could predict response to treatment. In a paper recently published in the journal Oral Oncology, the group report that those with high tumour blood flow were more likely to respond.

    Jonathan Bernstein, a co-author on the paper, said: “Delivery and effectiveness of chemotherapy appears to be better in tumours with higher blood flow. However, amongst those patients with lower measured tumour blood flow, more work is needed to determine those who will and won’t respond.”

    Source: ‘Tumor plasma flow determined by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI predicts response to induction chemotherapy in head and neck cancer’, Bernstein et al. (2015) Oral Oncology

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    FDA Grant Forwards Listeria-Based Throat Cancer Vaccine

    Thu, Sep 17, 2015


    Source: www.targetedonc.com
    Author: Sandra Kear

    An experimental immunotherapy for human papillomavirus-, or HPV-, related throat cancers, which is driven by the Listeria bacteria (that wreaks havoc when ingested), may now move forward due to a $1.1 million dollar grant from the FDA to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine.

    “Immunotherapy, such as axalimogene filolisbac, which targets HPV proteins expressed in cancer cells is a great example of using a cancer’s own unique biology against it.” said principal investigator Andrew Sikora, MD, PhD, leader of the head and neck cancer program in the NCI Comprehensive Designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center and an associate professor of otolaryngology at Baylor College, in an interview with Targeted Oncology.


    “This is hopefully the first step toward development of more targeted treatment approaches that reduce side effects and cancer treatment-related morbidity by uniquely targeting only virus-infected cells.” 
The Listeria-based HPV immunotherapy, axalimogene filolisbac (ADXS11-001), is developed by Advaxis, and functions by stimulating an immune response against HPV proteins, thus killing infected cells.

    The drug is currently being evaluated in phase I-II study3 alone or in combination with MedImmune’s durvalumab, in patients with cervical or HPV-positive head and neck cancer. The study has online games for real money three arms: axalimogene filolisbac alone, durvalumab alone, and the two drugs combined. Primary outcomes established for the study are: number of subjects with adverse events (AEs) in each dose level, number of subjects with AEs in the combination dose, and progression-free survival.

    Patients must have measurable disease by RECIST criteria, as well as histologically diagnosed squamous cell cancer of the head and neck or squamous, nonsquamous, adenosquamous, carcinoma, or adenocarcinoma of the cervix. HPV positivity is not required for cervical cancer. Enrolled patients must be ≥18 years of age with a performance status of 0 or 1. Females must have a negative pregnancy test, and patients must agree to use two methods of birth control 120 days after the last treatment dose. The estimated study completion date is December 2019.

    “We continue to accrue patients for this trial and collect blood and tumor specimens. Immune studies are best done in batches, so every time we have the specimens from 5 to 6 patients available, we can start another round of studies looking at things like T-cell responses, changes in immune cell profiles, altered serum cytokines, etc.” Sikora said. “At the end of it, each different assay provides a different snapshot of how the immune system works, and we hope to put them together to comprehensively understand what is happening to the immune system in these patients and how to use this information to put together the next round of clinical trials.”

    Sikora will collaborate with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and with Advaxis. The grant was given by the FDA’s Orphan Products Grants Program, which supports clinical development of new treatments for rare diseases or conditions where no current treatment exists or superior treatments are needed.

    “The grant from the FDA is a total game changer, because not only does it make it possible for us to fully complete accrual of the trial, but it gives us the opportunity to perform really cutting-edge analyses on the samples collected. We now have the opportunity to use nearly every tool at our disposal to meticulously profile and understand how this therapy drives antitumor immune responses,” said Sikora.

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

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    Smokeless tobacco use on the rise among high school athletes

    Sun, Sep 13, 2015


    Source: kimt.com
    Author: Jeron Rennie

    A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows a trend they don’t want to see.

    A Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) shows that from 2001-2013, smokeless tobacco use increased significantly among high school athletes, but not with non-athletes.

    The report also found there was lower use of combustible tobacco products among athletes than non-athletes. The CDC said that could be due, in part, to an awareness of the negative consequences on athletic performance. However, they say the use of smokeless tobacco suggests they find those products as being harmless.

    “When you see it in the media and you see all those athletes that you’re looking up to as a younger student and trying to reach some of the goals that they’ve reached,” said Freeborn County Drug-Free Coalition Prevention Coordinator Lana Howe. “It definitely plays a large impact on you as a youth.”

    The CDC said using smokeless tobacco can, however, adversely impact athletic performance and lead to disease and early death since they contain nicotine, toxins and carcinogens.

    Several athletes with a history of smokeless tobacco use have been diagnosed with, or died from, oral cancer.

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    UC Davis will use dogs to sniff out cancer

    Sun, Sep 13, 2015


    Source: www.willitsnews.com
    Author: staff

    A university team of physicians, veterinarians and animal behaviorists has begun training a pair of very special canines to sniff out cancer. One of the 4-month-old puppies is Alfie, a Labradoodle. months old.

    A university team of physicians, veterinarians and animal behaviorists has begun training a pair of very special canines to sniff out cancer. One of the 4-month-old puppies is Alfie, a Labradoodle. months old.

    UC Davis clinicians are hoping to advance cancer screenings with the innate olfactory skills of man’s best friend. A university team of physicians, veterinarians and animal behaviorists has begun training a pair of very special canines who may represent high-tech health care on four feet in the effort to better screen for cancer, especially at early stages of the disease.

    About 4-months old, the puppies Alfie (a Labradoodle) and Charlie (a German Shepherd) are undergoing a rigorous twelve-month training program to develop their abilities to identify the scent of cancer in samples of saliva, breath and urine.

    According to sensory scientists, the olfactory acuity of dogs enables them to detect odorant concentration levels at 1 to 2 parts per trillion, roughly 10,000 to 100,000 times that of a human. UCD physicians and researchers believe Alfie and Charlie have the potential to add an important diagnostic element to patient care. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and early detection of the disease gives patients the best chance of survival.

    “For the past number of years, we have been developing very high-end, expensive new tests to try and detect the presence of cancer,” said Ralph de Vere White, distinguished professor of urology and director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Dogs have been doing this, detecting disease in the urine of people suspected of having bladder cancer, for example. This work marries sophisticated technology with low-tech, yet sophisticated, dogs’ noses to see if they can help us identify the molecules that differentiate cancer from non-cancer.”

    Hilary Brodie, professor and chair of the UCD Department of Otolaryngology, hopes that the identification of these molecules will lead to innovative and readily available methods of detection.

    “Much like the hand-held devices used to detect alcohol, drugs and explosives have revolutionized our safety, having a new tool to detect early-stage cancer would have incredible benefits for patient care,” noted Brodie, whose department treats many head, neck and throat cancer patients.

    Researchers have established that dogs can recognize melanoma as well as bladder, lung, breast and ovarian cancers. Canines have been successfully trained to distinguish the breath samples of lung and breast cancer patients from those of healthy volunteers. Such promising results have cancer experts at UCD enthusiastic about the potential for the dogs to represent a safe, noninvasive method for detecting cancer before it is too late.

    Current cancer screening methods frequently result in the disease being identified at a later stage, often past the so-called golden hour when treatment is most effective and when the cases aren’t as challenging.

    “Identifying patients at earlier stages could be extremely helpful in the fight against cancer,” said Gregory Farwell, professor of otolaryngology and director of the university’s Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Surgery program.

    Alfie and Charlie are being trained by Dina Zaphiris, director of the In Situ Foundation in Chico. Zaphiris has trained more than two dozen dogs in their ability to detect cancer. As in training for drug and explosives detection, the UCD canines are learning how to distinguish samples from cancer patients and healthy individuals. According to Zaphiris, almost any dog can be trained to detect cancer. She prefers German Shepherds, Labradors, poodles and herding breeds because of their work ethic.

    Alfie and Charlie’s human-cancer screening work will begin in early 2016 with a clinical trial to establish the safety and efficacy of the new diagnostic canine approach. UCD physicians say their ultimate goal is to bring more comprehensive cancer-screening capabilities to the public.

    “Despite all the advances of modern medicine, we still can’t reliably detect many types of cancers in their early stages,” said Peter Belafsky, professor of otolaryngology and a physician who often deals with cases involving advanced cancer. “Our new canine colleagues represent a unique weapon in the battle against cancer. It’s the first of its kind at UC Davis, and the dogs’ incredible talent for scent detection could offer us humans a real jump on diagnosing cancer much earlier and thus save many more lives.”

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    Cowboy with a statement on smoking

    Fri, Sep 11, 2015


    Source: www.vp-mi.com
    Author: Adam Robertson
    55f20e17c6255.imageA cowboy stands against smoking
    Above: Cody Kiser holds on as his bronco goes wild during the Sanders County Fair rodeo; Kiser has teamed up with the Oral Cancer Foundation to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco products through the rodeo.


    PLAINS – Tobacco use has been a big part of the rodeo for years; one participant of the Sanders County Fair is in the forefront of changing this, though, by promoting a tobacco-less lifestyle through the sport.

    Cody Kiser, a cowboy who rode bareback broncos at the Fair, has teamed up with the Oral Cancer Foundation’s ‘Be Smart, Don’t Start’ campaign to help teach kids about the dangers of tobacco products and oral cancer. According to their website, the campaign is part of the foundation’s rodeo outreach and attempting to “become engaged where the problem lives.”

    “While other [groups] are focused on getting users to quit, the Oral Cancer Foundation is reaching out to young people to not pick up the habit that they may see one of their rodeo heroes engaging in,” stated information provided by the OFC.

    To help with this, Kiser and the foundation have been working to present role models within the rodeo world who do not use tobacco products and actively advocate against their use.

    “How do you change that?” Kiser asked, regarding the tobacco-use culture. “I think that is in kids; you have to get to the kids and get their opinions changed.”

    The foundation’s main focus has been on reaching out to middle school and high school students, though getting their message to any kid is helpful. They try to inform the kids of the dangers of tobacco products, with a particular emphasis on chewing tobacco, which is heavily linked to developing oral cancer.

    “We’re not here to tell anybody how to live their life or anything, if they’re already chewing or smoking,” said Kiser. “Just give information … and hope we reach out to the kids. That’s the main thing.”

    During the Sanders County Fair rodeo, Kiser only wore sponsorship logos for the OCF. He also took time to talk to kids at the fair and give out pins, bandanas as well as other items with the foundation’s message on them.

    It was noted there are other rodeo riders who do not smoke or chew tobacco, though it is rare. This has been turning around in recent years, though, and there are organizations promoting tobacco-free rodeos, where only people who do not use tobacco products participate. Other organizations, like Project Filter and reACT, are also working to educate kids about tobacco use through the rodeo.

    “There are groups who are doing this now,” Kiser said. “It’s not just us … There is some move towards it. It’s in its infancy right now, but there people who are doing stuff.”

    He also recalled a number of athletes had used tobacco products and reported regretting it later in life; some hall of famers have said they would do things differently, in regards to tobacco use, if they could go back. The main goal of the OCF and its ‘Be Smart, Don’t Start’ campaign has been to help kids avoid having those regrets.

    The foundation hopes to set up public speaking arrangements at schools for Kiser and their other ambassadors in the near future, though for now their outreach is limited to rodeos. Going directly to the schools would help them reach out to kids more and spread their message further.

    Tobacco use is strongly linked to oral cancer, which has several severe impacts on the body; everything from losing teeth to serious oral sores or even death. The effects do not stop at a personal level either and can spill over to other people’s lives as well.

    According to the OFC, approximately 46,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. This translates to almost 115-120 people diagnosed each day.

    More information on the Oral Cancer Foundation can be found at www.oralcancer.org.

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

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