early detection

Forward Science and Oral Cancer Foundation partner in video to spread oral cancer awareness

Source: www.DentistryIQ.com
Author: DentistryIQ Editors
Click here to view Carol Layer’s story, told by her daughter Rachel

In an effort to increase awareness about the importance of annual oral cancer screenings, Forward Science, the creators of OralID, and the Oral Cancer Foundation have partnered to share the story of a family’s loss after a protracted and difficult battle with oral cancer.

In a video narrated by the daughter of an oral cancer victim, the importance of regular/routine oral cancer screenings is stressed, and the daughter shares a first-hand view of why early detection is critical.

To view the touching story of Carol Layer’s fight with oral cancer, told by her extraordinary daughter, Rachel, visit http://www.oralid.com/carolsfight.

“Until there is a cure, the best solution is early discovery. Early detection can not only save people’s lives, but preserve the quality of life.” Rachel continues to compete in marathons and relay races in her mother’s memory, wearing “Carol’s Fight” on her shirt in every race. She emphasizes the importance of sharing her mom’s story with the world, with the hope of preventing future stories like her own.

She said, “I certainly learned a lot about life and death and what it meant to be resilient through her, and I hope my mom’s story carries forward to people.”

At 44 years old, Carol Layer had no traditional risk factors (alcohol or tobacco use) and was not a patient who was in the high-risk category for oral cancer. Carol found a lesion on the side of her tongue and decided to have it examined by her dentist. After numerous referrals, and even a negative biopsy, Carol’s worst fear became a reality: she was diagnosed with Stage IV oral cancer. She fought oral cancer for 9 long years before sadly losing her battle in 2011. Carol is survived by her husband and two children. Oral cancer kills one American ever hour, and it continues to affect patients who may not have traditional risk factors. The key to lowering the number of fatalities due to this vicious disease is the discovery of lesions or suspicious tissues before they progress into cancer.

With the oral cancer screening devices available today, such as the OralID, many times clinicians may now have a way to discover abnormalities before they are visible with the naked eye.

Forward Science is a privately held medical device company based in Houston, Texas. With the launch of OralID and CytID, Forward Science provides dental offices with a complete oral health protocol, entitled F.A.C.T. (Fluorescence Assessment and Cytology Test). For more information, go to www.oralid.com or call (855) 696-7254.

The Oral Cancer Foundation, founded by oral cancer survivor Brian R. Hill, is an IRS registered non-profit 501(c)(3) public service charity that provides information, patient support, sponsorship of research, and advocacy related to oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation maintains the web site: www.oralcancer.org.

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

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

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.

UC Davis will use dogs to sniff out cancer

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.”

September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

For the war against oral cancer, what’s in your arsenal?

Source: www.dentistryiq.com
Author: Dennis M. Abbott, DDS

The face of oral cancer has changed: No longer is oral cancer a disease isolated to men over 60 years of age with a long history of smoking and alcohol consumption. Today, the demographic for the disease includes younger people of both sexes with no history of deleterious social habits who are otherwise healthy and active. It spans all socioeconomic, racial, religious, and societal lines. In other words, oral and oropharyngeal cancer is an equal opportunity killer. Today, as you read this article, 24 people in the US will lose their battles with oral cancer. That is one person for each hour of the day, every day of the year. Each of those lost is someone’s sister, a father’s son, a small child’s mommy, or maybe even a person you hold dear to your heart. The truth is, oral and oropharyngeal cancer has several faces . . . and each of those faces is a human being, just like you and me. So how can we, as dental professionals, be instrumental in the war against oral and head and neck cancer?

Views of the oropharynx, the base of the tongue, and the epiglottis, taken with the Iris HD USB 3.0 intraoral camera using different points of focus. Photos courtesy of the author.

Views of the oropharynx, the base of the tongue, and the epiglottis, taken with the Iris HD USB 3.0 intraoral camera using different points of focus.
Photos courtesy of the author.

The answer, as with most other cancers, lies in early detection. When oral and oropharyngeal cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate can be as high as 80% to 90%. The harsh reality is that most oral and head and neck cancers are only found at late stages after the cancer has advanced—often to the lymph system. As a result, the chance of the person living for five years after diagnosis falls to approximately 55%.

As dentists and dental hygienists, we—like it or not—are on the front line of this war. We often have the opportunity to see potential cancer patients more frequently than our medical colleagues do, and we are trained to see abnormalities inside the mouth and in the head and neck region. (This is a huge part of the solution!) Many of my medical colleagues tell me that they do not have the training to see what I can see in the mouth. But I do not have the training to practice oncological medicine like they do. The truth is, it takes all of us doing our jobs to care and manage the individual person—not just the teeth, not just the liver, not just the breast, but the whole patient.

Years ago, we could almost profile who would or would not be likely to present with oral cancer. It was always the “Marlboro man”—that guy who was older, drank alcohol frequently, and had a smoking pack-year history that was two or three times his age. But those days are long gone. With the recent understanding that the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, is an etiological factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancer, virtually everyone is a potential cancer patient. As such, everyone should be screened. While the individual with classic risk factors still remains at risk for developing oral cancer, many who present with HPV-related oral and head and neck cancers have no other discovered risk factors, other than exposure to HPV and an immune system that, for reasons still unknown, will not adequately clear the virus without repercussions.

It is believed that 80% to 90% of all Americans have been exposed to HPV at least once in their lifetimes. Most people manage to clear the virus through the immune system’s normal defense function within six to seven months; in some patients, however, damage takes place at the cellular level that may take months, years, or even decades to manifest as cancer. The majority of HPV-related oral and head and neck cancers present in areas that are difficult for us as dental professionals to visualize, such as the tonsils, the base of the tongue, the oropharynx, the posterior pharyngeal wall, and the larynx. That, however, does not give us an excuse not to screen in these areas . . . we just have to think outside of the box and get creative about how we screen.

Visual inspection combined with palpation remains the essential foundation of screening for oral and oropharyngeal cancers, but where visualization is difficult—such as with the base of the tongue and the lower oropharynx—knowing and asking the right questions can become critically important for identifying potential concerns:
“Are you noticing any unusual hoarseness?”
“Are you having any difficulty swallowing?”
“Do you ever have a sensation as though something is caught in your throat?”
“How long has that tonsil been inflamed?”
“Have you noticed any sinus or allergy issues since that tonsil has been enlarged?”
While these questions may seem unrelated to teeth, they are not unrelated to oral health. Simply asking the right questions can open a dialogue of discovery that may lead to the detection of an oropharyngeal cancer early. And early detection is the key to beating the disease and maintaining a good quality of life during the survivorship years.

Technology-based adjunctive devices to assist the dental professional in the early detection of oral cancer have existed in the market for the past 10 to 15 years. Much has been written about fluorescence and reflective technologies, which help the examiner to detect subtle changes in tissue through the usage of light in the violet and yellow ranges of visible light, respectively. Examination with these wavelength-specific devices enhances visualization by highlighting changes in the oral mucosa and vasculature. Usage of these adjuncts has also demonstrated value in enabling clinicians to better understand the size of affected tissue surrounding suspected lesions. As such, these may be useful in selecting a field for biopsy that may produce clear, or noncancerous, margins.

Since the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) in 2003, there exists a more clearly defined understanding of how diseases such as cancer affect our cells at the nucleic acid level and how genetic mutations can serve as risk factors or catalysts for cancerous changes in cells. Technology used in the HGP has also provided insight into the genotyping of viruses, leading to a sharper picture of how viral interaction with our genetic code can lead to disease. Today, the dentist and dental hygienist have this technology readily available to move their practice into the era of personalized health.

Salivary tests, such as the MOP (Molecular Oral Testing) by PCG Molecular, take advantage of innovative, advanced genetic testing to establish the risk or presence of oral or oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. MOP does this by evaluating cellular abnormalities in the oral cavity and oropharynx, DNA damage associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancer, and the presence of HPV. With this information, the clinician can better determine the appropriate course of action for the patient.

Sometimes striving to provide the best possible patient care means thinking outside of the box to use technology designed for one purpose and discovering a new application to meet an unanswered need. Most of us are at least familiar with intraoral cameras, and many of us have them in our offices. Using the magnified imagery of a quality intraoral camera and a high-resolution monitor, this tool is a favorite device for illustrating the need for proposed treatment and for establishing patient trust. But what if we could use those images to possibly save a life?

The Iris HD USB 3.0 intraoral camera by Digital Doc LLC has catapulted intraoral photography into the high-definition age. Using the Iris HD precision optical lens array and an advanced HD sensor from Sony, the Iris HD USB 3.0 provides unmatched 720p-resolution clarity that is perfect for the magnification and photographic capture of suspicious areas discovered during a thorough head and neck examination/oral cancer screening. Because of the size of the camera head, the device even makes it possible to examine areas of the oropharynx that were previously difficult for dentists and hygienists to visualize.

Of course, the camera cannot substitute for laryngeal endoscopy, especially if cancer inferior to the epiglottis is suspected, but the camera’s ability to see beyond the palatopharyngeal arch is an improvement over an angled dental mirror. Most patients can tolerate the necessary posterior placement of the camera to capture an oropharyngeal image either by breathing through the nose or with placement of a topical anesthetic on the posterior soft palate and uvula to suppress the gag reflex.

Regardless of the power of the technology, the ultimate skill in detecting early-stage oral and oropharyngeal cancer lies in the eyes, hands, and brain of the examiner. Careful inspection, knowledge, discernment, and experience are the real tools of the professional for acquiring and processing all of the available data and for correctly fitting the puzzle pieces into a picture that illustrates either health, concern with reason for reevaluation, or the need to biopsy the area in question. When reevaluation is required, no more than two weeks should elapse between the initial examination and follow-up, as time is of the essence in proceeding to treatment should the suspicious area indeed be cancerous.

Responsibility to the patient does not end with an abnormal screening result. The dental professional should have a plan in place to either biopsy or refer. The dental professional should biopsy only if he or she is well-experienced in the removal of suspected cancerous lesions. Otherwise, the patient should be referred to an oral/maxillofacial surgeon, periodontist, otolaryngologist, or head and neck surgeon who is comfortable with and experienced in the safe and effective biopsy of a potentially cancerous area. It is most often the case that only one opportunity to obtain a diagnostic tissue sample exists, so the skills of the doctor performing the biopsy should be without question. Every effort should be made to ensure that the patient is seen promptly for biopsy and that the pathology results are returned and shared with the patient expeditiously. Delay can be detrimental to the survival of a patient with oral or oropharyngeal cancer.

Should a screening result from your office lead to a diagnosis of oral or oropharyngeal cancer, be prepared to counsel and educate your patient about what to expect in his or her cancer journey. Learn about and be prepared to meet the unique dental and oral health needs of patients with oral and head and neck cancers, and become equipped to continue care for your patients throughout their treatment and into survivorship. For all of the destruction and hardship that cancer brings, it can form unbreakable bonds, between doctor and patient and between dentist and physician.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your counterparts in the medical community and bridge the gap between medicine and dentistry in your area. Form alliances with head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and oncology nurses. Let them know about your skills and the services and technology available in your office that place you on the front line of this war on oral cancer. Take time to understand your medical colleagues’ role in treating the disease and become familiar with the technology they are using to save lives and diminish the long-term effects of oral cancer treatment. We are, after all, fighting the same war, and we’re all on the same side. It is all of us against oral and oropharyngeal cancer, with the needs and health of that one patient we’re fighting for leading us in the battle.

About the author:
Dennis M. Abbott, DDS, is the founder and CEO of Dental Oncology Professionals, an oral medicine-based practice dedicated to meeting the unique dental and oral health needs of patients battling cancer. In addition to private practice, he is a member of the dental oncology medical staff at Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Abbott is also the founder of the American Academy of Dental Oncology and serves as a consultant to the national American Cancer Society in the development of oral monitoring guidelines for post-treatment cancer survivors. Dr. Abbott lectures internationally on the topics of dental oncology and oral cancer.

Tufts dental school to add oral medicine residency program

Source: www.drbicuspid.com
Author: DrBicuspid Staff

The Tufts University School of Dental Medicine will begin enrolling students in its new Advanced Education Program in Oral Medicine in July 2016, according to a Tufts Daily article.

The program is a two-year postgraduate certificate with the option for a three-year master’s degree track, according to the university. Teaching students how to treat oral symptoms of various diseases and conditions is the aim of the program.

The program teaches dentists to be responsible for the early detection and diagnosis of oral cancer and other malignancies that manifest in the oral cavity. Dentists will be trained to treat the oral manifestations of infectious diseases, including HIV; autoimmune and immune-related diseases such as lupus; and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

Bhavik Desai, DMD, PhD, an assistant professor of oral medicine and temporomandibular joint disorder at the Virginia Commonwealth School of Dentistry, will begin as the program director on July 1.

Oral medicine is not yet recognized as a specialty by the ADA; the American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM) oversees the discipline and is responsible for certifying dentists in the field, according to Interim Program Director Arwa Farag. The program received accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) in August 2014.

The AAOM has encouraged the expansion of training programs, because there are only six other dental schools in the U.S. that offer training in oral medicine.

Only 3% of hospitals with cancer programs have oral medicine specialists, and patients are often directed to other departments that are not trained to handle medical issues such as head and neck cancers.

Residents in the program will work with other clinics such as the Cranofacial Pain Center, which sees 1,500 to 2,000 patients annually and allows residents to gain experience working with patients, according to the article.

Residents will also be required to do hospital rotations at the Tufts Medical Center in departments including internal medicine, hematology, dermatology, and rheumatology. They will also conduct visitations at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and other Tufts facilities that serve patients with related needs.

If students choose to continue for a third year, they will do either clinical or laboratory research at the School of Dental Medicine, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, or the Jean Mayer U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

February, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Early detection of head and neck cancer: development of a novel screening tool using multiplexed immunobead-based biomarker profiling

Source: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org

Authors: Faina Linkov, Alex Lisovich, Zoya Yurkovetsky, Adele Marrangoni, Lyudmila Velikokhatnaya, Brian Nolen, Matthew Winans, William Bigbee, Jill Siegfried, Anna Lokshin, and Robert Ferris

Abstract: Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck cancer (SCCHN) is an aggressive disease which has been linked to altered immune, inflammatory, and angiogenesis responses. A better understanding of these aberrant responses might improve early detection and prognosis of SCCHN and provide novel therapeutic targets. Previous studies examined the role of multiplexed serum biomarkers in small cohorts or SCCHN sera. We hypothesized that an expanded panel comprised of multiple cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and other tumor markers, which individually may show some promising correlation with disease status, might provide higher diagnostic power if used in combination. Thus, we evaluated a novel multi-analyte LabMAP profiling technology that allows simultaneous measurement of multiple serum biomarkers. Concentrations of 60 cytokines, growth factors, and tumor antigens were measured in the sera of 116 SCCHN patients prior to treatment (active disease group), 103 patients who were successfully treated (no evidence of disease, NED, group), and 117 smoker controls without evidence of cancer. The multi-marker panel offering the highest diagnostic power was comprised of 25 biomarkers, including EGF, EGFR, IL-8, tPAI-1, AFP, MMP-2, MMP-3, IFN-α, IFN-γ, IP-10, RANTES, MIP-1α, IL-7, IL-17, IL-1Rα, IL-2R, G-CSF, mesothelin, IGFBP-1, E-selectin, cytokeratin (CK)19, V-CAM, and CA-125. Statistical analysis using an ADE algorithm resulted in a sensitivity of 84.5%, specificity of 98%, and 92% of patients in the active disease group correctly classified from a cross-validation serum set. The data presented show that simultaneous testing using a multiplexed panel of serum biomarkers may present a promising new approach for the early detection of head and neck cancer.

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

Former LA Laker Michael Cooper diagnosed with tongue cancer

Source: insidesocal.com
Author: Mark Medina

Former Laker Michael Cooper will take a leave of absence as the head coach of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream because of early stage tongue cancer. Cooper plans to have a surgical procedure this week at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta and is expected to recover in two weeks. Assistant coach Karleen Thompson will assume head coaching duties during Cooper’s absence.

“The doctors and staff at Emory have been tremendous, and I know I’m in good hands,” Cooper said in a statement. “I’m fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection. I know the team will be in good hands with Coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon.”

Cooper has guided Atlanta to an Eastern Conference best 15-6 record in his first season. He also coached the East to a 125-124 overtime win at the WNBA All-Star game on Saturday.

Cooper is best known as a defensive specialist with the Showtime Lakers (1978-90) where he won five NBA championships. He also coached the Los Angeles Sparks to two WNBA championships (2001, 2002). Cooper left his second stint with the Sparks to coach the USC’s women’s basketball team. But he resigned in March after finishing 11-20, his first losing record in four seasons.

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


July, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Global burden of cancer is on the rise

Source: Medical News Today
Published: Catherine Paddock, PHD
By: February 4, 2014


A new report from the World Health Organization’s cancer agency reveals that cancer rates are growing at an “alarming pace” around the world and urges stronger efforts on prevention measures to curb the disease.

The World Cancer Report 2014, from the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), estimates that the global burden of cancer will rise from an estimated 14 million new cases per year in 2012 to 22 million within the next 20 years.

Due to growing and aging populations, developing countries are disproportionately affected by the growing numbers of cancers. Over 60% of the global burden is in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, where 70% of cancer deaths occur, and where lack of early detection and treatment is a growing problem.

There is an urgent need to put in place measures to prevent the disease, says the report, adding that half of all cancers could be avoided if we use what we already know more effectively.

Dr. Christopher Wild, report co-editor and director of the IARC, says:

“Despite exciting advances, this Report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem. More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.”

Leading cause of deaths worldwide, costs spiralling out of control

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide – in 2012 the WHO estimates there were 8.2 million deaths to cancer, with lung cancer claiming the most lives (1.59 million), followed by liver (745,000 deaths), stomach (723,000 deaths), colorectal (694,000 deaths), breast (521,000 deaths) and esophageal cancer (400 000 deaths).

Access to effective and affordable cancer treatment, including for childhood cancers, would have a significant impact, even where health care is not so advanced, say the report authors.

However, the “spiralling costs” of dealing with cancer are damaging the economies of even the richest nations and are way beyond the pockets of countries that are less well off.

In 2010, the total global annual cost of cancer reached an estimated US$1.16 trillion.

Half of all cancers could be avoided by using current knowledge

Many cancers have a high chance of cure if detected early and if we were to effectively implement what we already know. The report says we could avoid about half of all cancers in this way.

The main risk factors for cancer worldwide are use of tobacco and alcohol, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, says the report, while chronic infections from viruses like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and some types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are leading risk factors in low- and middle-income countries.

Tobacco use has the single biggest impact. It accounts for 22% of global cancer deaths and over 70% of global lung cancer deaths.

In many poorer countries, infection by hepatitis B and HPV account for up to one fifth of cancer deaths.

More than 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding known risk factors, including:

• Stopping use of tobacco

• Preventing or reducing being overweight or obese

• Reducing alcohol consumption

• Increasing physical activity

• Eating a healthy diet with high intake of fruits and vegetables

• Protecting against sexually trasmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection – which can cause cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer death in women in low-income countries

• Reducing urban air pollution and indoor household smoke from solid fuels.

Dr. Wild adds:

“The rise of cancer worldwide is a major obstacle to human development and well-being. These new figures and projections send a strong signal that immediate action is needed to confront this human disaster, which touches every community worldwide, without exception.”

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

What the ‘rinse-and-spit’ oral cancer test could mean for dental professionals and their patients

Source: www.dentistryiq.com
Author: Vicki Cheeseman, Associate Editor

A new oral cancer “rinse-and-spit” test for the early detection of tumors could mean great things for dental professionals and their patients when the test becomes available for use in dental practices nationwide possibly as early as late 2014 or into 2015.

The test, developed at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and exclusively licensed to Vigilant Biosciences, Inc., will be available as a low-cost, point-of-care screening test for the early detection of oral cancer, and is envisioned as a kit with a special oral rinse and test strip. The test strip detects proteins that are markers of oral cancer and are captured by the rinse. The markers may be present before a lesion is easily visible. Early detection tests are critical because the majority of patients present in late stage when cure rates reach only 40%.

I asked Dr. Franzmann to explain how the test strip works.
“The beauty of the test strip approach is that it is so simple for the patient and health-care professional to use. The technology behind the test strips has been around for many years and is used for many medical applications. The key is to know what to test for. Through our research, we discovered certain proteins, or markers, are present in the saliva in the early stages of squamous cell carcinoma, the most common head and neck cancer.”

How early can tumors be detected with the test strip?
Dr. Franzmann said, “The tumors can be detected in some instances before they become noticeable to the patient or the dentist. This is so important because today only about 40% of oral cancers are caught early enough to be cured.”

Does the cancer test strip distinguish among various types of tumors, or simply whether a tumor is cancerous or not?
Dr. Franzmann explained, “This test is for detecting squamous cell carcinoma, the most common head and neck cancer. The main risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma are tobacco and alcohol use and human papillomavirus infection.”

Once a test is performed, how long does it take for a patient to receive the results?
She continued, “This is a point-of-care test, meaning that the patient receives results in just a few minutes during the office visit.”

So, the big question is, when the product becomes available for dental offices, will it become part of the standard oral cancer screening process for patients?
Matthew H.J. Kim, JD, CEO of Vigilant Biosciences, said, “We believe that there is a tremendous unmet need for a test that not only detects cancer early when there is a better chance for a cure, but also rules out the disease. Current products generate many false positives that lead to unnecessary biopsies and cause undue stress on the patient and their family while they wait for results.”

Much has been in the news lately about the link between human papillomavirus and oral cancer. Dr. Franzmann weighed in:
“HPV has been linked to oral cancer and cervical cancer. In both cases not all HPV infections lead to cancer. Other risk factors for oral cancer include smoking and alcohol use. Although our test is recommended for high-risk individuals including HPV infection, the number one cause of oral cancer, our test is designed to detect markers specific for oral cancer regardless of etiology.”

Vigilant’s new test product has the potential to play an enormous role in mass screening initiatives as it eventually becomes an integral part of routine oral cancer exams.

Mr. Kim firmly believes: “With health-care costs on the rise, it is important that new technology not only help find disease earlier when it costs less to treat but that it does a good job of ruling out disease to reduce unnecessary testing and patient anxiety.”

April, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

If You Fail to Look

Source: The American Academy of Oral Systemic Health Newsletter

Author: Cris Duval

Detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages saves lives, eases suffering, reduces morbidity, and ameliorates post-surgery recovery.

If You Fail to Look

Remember when you took driver’s education in high school?  I do!

When I grew up, driver’s education students in Washington State were required to watch “shock” highway-safety films. These videos, depicting the aftermath of drivers’ actions, showed actual accident scenes, complete with audio recordings of victims’ screams and color close-ups of mangled bodies.  My bet is that, if you have ever watched one of these videos, you have never forgotten it.

For me, when I saw these videos, I thought about my family and my friends.  I know that I have a family that loves and cares about me, and thus, I owe it to them to avoid doing something stupid behind-the-wheel.  I never want one of my loved ones to have to go through the pain of seeing me hurt.

This means to me that my driver’s license is more than just a “key” to get behind the wheel.  Rather, as a website for traffic safety in Texas states, a driver’s license signifies that the driver possesses the “essential knowledge, skills, and experience to perform reduced risk practices in [a] total traffic environment.”  In other words, the driver is accountable to himself and other drivers.

My response to these driver’s education videos is akin to my reaction to videos that I watched at the Pacific Northwest Head, Neck & Thyroid Cancer Symposium in April 2011.  During this event, 13 different physicians presented videos on advanced head and neck/oral cancer treatment and reconstruction.  A need for this Symposium clearly existed; many patients initially present large tumor load, “necessitating a multimodality treatment course… [requiring] the coordination of many specialists across multiple disciplines to achieve the best outcome, with the least amount of side effects.”

To me, these videos, depicting the aftermath of failing to screen for oral cancer, captured real patients with real split mandibles, cut-out tongues, and missing cheeks: basically, patients who no longer had recognizable faces.

My bet is that, if you ever see one of these real-time videos, you will never forget it.  Watching these videos is not for the faint of heart.  It shows you the consequences of what patients and their families endure if you fail to look.

On that day at the Symposium, as a member of the audience watching these videos, I wanted to stand up and shout out: “Wake up, People.  We can prevent this tragedy with early detection!”  Through my association with the Oral Cancer Foundation, I have learned that detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages saves lives, eases suffering, reduces morbidity, and ameliorates post-surgery recovery.

As oral health providers, we cannot prevent all patients from developing oral cancer; some patients are predisposed to the disease because of life style choices and genetic factors.  However, we can help all patients survive oral cancer “whole.”  By detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages, we can alleviate the effects of this disease.  “Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development.”  To avoid tragedy and to prepare patients for total health and wellness, the hygienist must conduct oral cancer screenings on every patient at every visit.

In fact, the dental hygiene oath mandates that hygienists undertake this protocol, stating: “I will render a full measure of service to each patient entrusted to my care.”  Thus, like a driver’s license, the oral health provider’s license is more than just a permit to remove calculus from teeth.  It signifies that the hygienist, like the licensed driver, possesses the knowledge, skills, and experience to perform reduced risk practices in a total clinical environment.

Today’s hygienists use a three-step method to screen for oral cancer: first, hygienists conduct an extra- and an intra-oral inspection of the tissue; second, hygienists palpate the tissue to feel for abnormalities; finally, hygienists employ an adjunctive screening tool (i.e. the Velscope) to identify subsurface, cellular changes. Like seat belts and air bags for drivers, which have significantly reduced injury and death from automobile accidents, this three-step examination could significantly reduce deaths from oral cancer.  Unfortunately, despite rising death rates from oral cancer, early detection is under-utilized.  Indeed, less than 14% of people who visit a dentist or hygienist report that they have had an oral cancer screening.

To prevent this disease, you must actively engage in oral cancer screenings rather than passively accept oral cancer’s high death rate. 

Please, for your patients’ sake, do not remain nonplussed.  Oral cancer is gruesome, and it takes the lives of those you love.  You cannot afford to be complacent.  Don’t be afraid of what you might find.  Be concerned about what you might miss.

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

June, 2012|Oral Cancer News|