mouth cancer

E-cigarettes ‘just as harmful as tobacco’ for oral health

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com
Author: Honor Whiteman

Electronic cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. When it comes to oral health, however, new research suggests vaping may be just as harmful as smoking.

a-woman-using-an-ecigarette

Researchers suggest vaping may be equally – if not more – harmful for oral health than smoking.

In a study published in the journal Oncotarget, researchers found that the chemicals present in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) vapor were equally as damaging – in some cases, more damaging – to mouth cells as tobacco smoke.

Such damage can lead to an array of oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth cancer.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices containing a heating device and a cartridge that holds a liquid solution. The heating device vaporizes the liquid – usually when the user “puffs” on the device – and the resulting vapor is inhaled.

While e-cigarette liquids do not contain tobacco – a highly harmful component of conventional cigarettes – they do contain nicotine and other chemicals, including flavoring agents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of e-cigarettes has increased in recent years, particularly among young people. In 2015, 16 percent of high-school students reported using the devices, compared with just 1.5 percent in 2011.

E-cigarettes are considered by many to be safer than conventional smoking, but because the devices are relatively new to the market, little is known about the long-term effects of vaping on health.

In particular, study leader Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, and colleagues note that there has been limited data on how e-cigarette vapor affects oral health.

Flavored vapor worsens damage to gum tissue cells
To address this gap in research, the team exposed the gum tissue of nonsmokers to either tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-cigarette vapor.

The tobacco-flavored vapor contained 16 milligrams of nicotine, while the menthol flavor contained 13-16 milligrams of nicotine or no nicotine.

The researchers found that all e-cigarette vapor caused damage to gum tissue cells comparable to that caused by exposure to tobacco smoke.

“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.” said Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.

The researchers note that nicotine is a known contributor to gum disease, but e-cigarette flavoring appeared to exacerbate the cell damage caused by e-cigarette vapor, with menthol-flavored vapor posing the most harm.

While further research is needed to investigate the long-term effects of e-cigarette use, Rahman and team believe their findings indicate that the devices may have negative implications for oral health.

“Overall, our data suggest the pathogenic role of [e-cigarette] aerosol to cells and tissues of the oral cavity, leading to compromised periodontal health,” they conclude.

E-cigarette vapor damaged, killed 53 percent of mouth cells in 3 days
Another study recently published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology builds on the findings from Rahman and colleagues, after finding a high rate of mouth cell death with exposure to e-cigarette vapor over just a few days.

To reach their findings, Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia, of the Faculty of Dental Medicine at Université Laval in Canada, and colleagues placed epithelial cells from the mouth in a chamber that contained a liquid similar to saliva.

To simulate vaping, the researchers pumped e-cigarette vapor into the chamber at a rate of two 5-second puffs every 60 seconds for 15 minutes a day. This was performed over 1, 2, or 3 days.

On analyzing the vapor-exposed epithelial cells under a microscope, the researchers identified a significant increase in the rate of cell damage and death.

The rate of damage or death in unexposed cells is around 2 percent, the researchers note. However, they found that with exposure to e-cigarette vapor, the number of dead or dying cells rose to 18 percent, 40 percent, and 53 percent over 1, 2, and 3 days, respectively.

While the cumulative effects of the cell damage caused by e-cigarette are unclear, the researchers believe their findings are a cause for concern.

“Damage to the defensive barrier in the mouth can increase the risk of infection, inflammation, and gum disease. Over the longer term, it may also increase the risk of cancer. This is what we will be investigating in the future.” said Dr. Mahmoud Rouabhia

November, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

California Raises Smoking Age To 21

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com
Author: Huffington Post Staff
 

The law makes it the second state to raise the minimum age to 21, following Hawaii.

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 31:  Isaiah Atkinson smokes a cigarette in front of the San Francisco Centre on May 31, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  Since 1987, the World Health Organization has celebrated "World No Tobacco Day" to raise awareness to the health risks associated with smoking tobacco. Smoking is the second biggest cause of death globally and is responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – California will raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 from 18 under a bill signed on Wednesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, part of a package of anti-smoking measures that also regulates electronic cigarettes.

Under five bills signed into law on Wednesday, California will ban the sale of vaping products or tobacco to anyone under the age of 21, imposing a fine of up to $5,000 against companies that violate the law.

“It is long past due for California to update our approach to tobacco,” said Steven Larson, president of the California Medical Association. “There has been an alarming rise in the use of e-cigarettes by teens, putting them at risk for lifelong addiction.”

Under the measures, electronic cigarettes will be regulated like traditional ones. That means that wherever cigarettes are banned, such as in restaurants, workplaces and public areas, use of e-cigarettes will also be prohibited.

The state will also expand its funding for anti-smoking programs under the bills.

Brown stopped short of allowing local counties to impose their own tobacco taxes, noting in his veto message that several proposed new taxes would be placed before voters on the November ballot.

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

May, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

FDA Spends $36 Million on Anti-Chewing Tobacco Ad Campaign

Source: www.freebeacon.com
Author: Elizabeth Harrington
Cans of smokeless tobacco sit in the Tampa Bay Rays dugout before a baseball game between the Rays and the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, April 14, 2010, in Baltimore. After hounding Major League Baseball and its players union over steroids, Congress now wants the sport to ban smokeless tobacco. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

Cans of smokeless tobacco sit in the Tampa Bay Rays dugout before a baseball game between the Rays and the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, April 14, 2010, in Baltimore. After hounding Major League Baseball and its players union over steroids, Congress now wants the sport to ban smokeless tobacco. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

The Food and Drug Administration is spending $36 million on an anti-chewing tobacco advertising campaign targeted at white male teenagers in the midwest.

The federal agency announced Tuesday it is expanding its “Real Cost” anti-tobacco campaign to “educate rural, white male teenagers” and convince them to stop dipping.

“Smokeless tobacco use is culturally ingrained in many rural communities,” the FDA said. “For many, it has become a rite of passage, with these teenagers seeing smokeless tobacco used by role models, such as fathers, grandfathers, older brothers, and community leaders.”

The campaign will run television, radio, and print advertisements, as well as put up public signs and billboards and post on social media.

An FDA spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that the total cost for the campaign is $36 million, which will be financed through taxes on tobacco manufacturers. Paid ads will cost $20 million, and the remaining budget will cover “research, strategic planning, creative development, and contract management.”

The agency is also partnering with two dozen minor league baseball teams in the midwest that will host anti-chewing tobacco events and feature advertisements from the campaign.

“Amplification of messaging from the campaign will take place at 25 Minor League Baseball stadiums throughout this summer using a variety of efforts, including sponsoring in-stadium events, the placement of print ads, running of television ad spots, and opportunities for fans to engage with players who support the FDA’s efforts on smokeless tobacco,” said Tara Goodin, an FDA spokesperson.

The list of minor league clubs participating in the campaign includes the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, the Traverse City Beach Bums in Michigan, the Sioux Falls Canaries, and the Burlington Bees, an Iowa farm team for the Los Angeles Angels.

Chewing tobacco has been banned at ballparks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston, including Fenway Park, and major leaguers can face $250 fines and “are subject to discipline” from Major League Baseball’s Commissioner Rob Manfred if they dip during games.

ESPN reported that signs are now posted in Fenway with a phone number so individuals can call to report on other fans they see chewing tobacco to “alert security.”

The FDA provided an example of one of its new campaign ads, which features a man at a bowling alley with a can of chewing tobacco in his back pocket.

FDA-TRC-Smokeless-Prevention-Campaign-Ad

“This can can cause mouth cancer, tooth loss, brown teeth, jaw pain, white patches, gum disease,” text on the ad reads.

The campaign is targeted at white males aged 12 to 17 who are using smokeless tobacco, which the FDA estimates to be 629,000 nationwide, or 0.19 percent of the U.S. population of 318.9 million.

“Not only is the target audience using smokeless tobacco at a high rate, but many do not fully understand the negative health consequences of their actions,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “In communities where smokeless tobacco use is part of the culture, reaching at-risk teens with compelling messaging is critical to help change their understanding of the risks and harms associated with smokeless tobacco use.”

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

April, 2016|Oral Cancer News|

Possible marker for recurring HPV-linked oropharyngeal cancers

Source: www.eureka.org
Author: John Hopkins Media Contact: Vanessa Wasta
 

A look-back analysis of HPV infection antibodies in patients treated for oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancers linked to HPV infection suggests at least one of the antibodies could be useful in identifying those at risk for a recurrence of the cancer, say scientists at The Johns Hopkins University. A report on the study is published in the February issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

HPV infections, which are virtually all sexually transmitted, are responsible for the recent rise in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancers in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute, and now account for about 80 percent of these cancers.

People with HPV-positive tumors of the throat, base of the tongue and tonsils have higher overall survival rates compared to people with similar tumors not caused by HPV, but studies show that more than 25 percent of HPV-positive cancers recur–usually within the first two years after treatment.

“There are currently no reliable tests available to detect early recurrence, so we hope to find a biological marker that could help identify those most at risk,” says Carole Fakhry, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

For the new study, Fakhry and her colleagues focused their attention on the antibodies, or immune system protein the body produces to fight HPV-related cancer proteins. One such antibody, called E6, is strongly linked to the diagnosis of HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer.

Levels of the E6 antibody should fall when a patient is treated and cured of their cancer, Fakhry and her colleagues reasoned, so an increase in a patient’s E6 levels after treatment might indicate a higher risk of the cancer returning.

To find out, the researchers looked back at the health records and blood serum samples of 60 patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer and a median age of 56, mostly Caucasian men, who were treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Some 43 of the patients had samples taken before their treatment, 34 had samples taken up to six months after therapy, and 52 had samples taken six months or later after therapy. Among the 60 patients, Fakhry and colleagues identified six cases of recurring cancer within an average of 4.4 years of follow-up after treatment.

The scientists looked at a variety of HPV cancer cell antibodies in these patients and discovered that the average level of most of these antibodies was lower after treatment. Patients who had high levels of E6 antibody before their treatment were seven times more likely than those with lower levels to have their cancer return, they also found.

Fakhry says the study is a promising start toward finding a way to identify patients most at risk for a cancer recurrence through the use of a blood test, but much more data are needed to confirm E6’s usefulness as a biomarker. One of the best ways to proceed, she says, would be to conduct a study of the antibody on a large group of patients at the start of their treatment, drawing blood at a series of predetermined points during their therapy to examine E6 levels.

At the moment, these HPV antibodies are not measured routinely in patients, so it is difficult to estimate the costs and time needed to conduct such a “gold-standard” trial, she notes.

More research is also needed to know whether such tests would be useful in determining the path of a patient’s follow-up care, such as whether and how often a patient might need imaging or clinical exams to watch for a cancer’s possible return.

“Potentially, a low-risk patient may need less stringent surveillance while a high-risk patient may require more intense imaging,” Fakhry explains. “But this is far away from clinical practice, as we would really need to understand whether this hypothetical approach [with E6] would improve lead time to diagnosis of recurrence and survival outcomes.”

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Other Johns Hopkins scientists who contributed to the research include Jesse Qualliotine, Zhe Zhang, Nishant Agrawal, Daria Gaykalova, Justin Bishop, Rathan M. Subramaniam, Wayne Koch, Christine Chung, David W. Eisele, Joseph Califano and Raphael P. Viscidi.

Funding for the study was provided by the Oral Cancer Foundation and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (P50DE019032-13).

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

FDA Clears First Tobacco Product for Marketing

For the first time since it was given the power to regulate tobacco, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized marketing of a new product.

The agency said that eight new smokeless snus products, to be sold in the United States under the “General” brand name by Stockholm-based Swedish Match AB, are now authorized under the premarket tobacco application pathway, which was established by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Snus cannot be marketed as “FDA-approved,” however.

“Today’s action demonstrates that the premarket tobacco application process is a viable pathway under which products can be marketed, as long as the public health can be protected,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, in a statement.

This is the first time any tobacco maker has completed the rigorous premarket tobacco application review process at the agency; others have had products approved by proving they are substantially equivalent to what is already on the market.

The agency said that Swedish Match provided evidence that “these products would likely provide less toxic options if current adult smokeless tobacco users used them exclusively.” The agency also agreed with the company that snus’ availability would not result in substantial new use, delay quit attempts, or attract ex-smokers.

Swedish Match had been seeking separately to remove warnings that snus is harmful, but the agency has not yet ruled on that request.

In that separate application, Swedish Match was seeking to have the 10 types of snus it already sells in the United States designated as modified-risk tobacco products. The agency accepted the company’s application in August 2014 and held a meeting of its advisory panel to review the evidence in April 2015.

The company wanted to remove warnings that snus could cause gum disease and tooth loss or mouth cancer. It also sought to label its products with the statement that reads, “No tobacco product is safe, but this product presents substantially lower risks to health than cigarettes.” The advisory committee could not reach consensus on whether snus was a safer alternative to smoking, and also was not convinced that the product would not attract new users. At that meeting, Dennis Henigan, director of legal and policy analysis for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said Swedish Match had failed to show that users would not use both cigarettes and snus, or that young people would not initiate use.

Snus, which is ground tobacco, salt, and water, comes in a pouch that users place under their upper lip. It can be used for up to 30 minutes, according to the company. It is popular in Sweden, but less so in the United States. Swedish Match says its General brand accounts for 11% of American convenience store snus sales. The 60 million cans it sells annually in the United States are dwarfed by the billion cans of smokeless tobacco sold.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that less than 4% of adults use smokeless tobacco, with rates highest among men aged 18 to 25 years (10%). A 2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of high school students found that 5.5% of overall used smokeless tobacco, and an additional 1.9% reported current use of snus.

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

November, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Athletes drive increase in high schoolers’ use of smokless tobacco, CDC study shows

Source: www.kyforward.com
Author: www.kyforward.com web staff

Sept.-2015-100-percent-smoke-free-schools

High-school athletes are using more smokeless tobacco, even though overall tobacco use among high-school students has declined, according to a study published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We can do more to protect America’s youth from a lifetime of addiction,” Tom Frieden, CDC director, said in a press release. “The fact is, smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, snuff or dip, can cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas. And the nicotine in these products is harmful to the developing brain. Because we know tobacco-free policies in schools and other public recreational areas work, we must take action now so that our children are safe from these toxins.”

Student responses to the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 2001 through 2013 show that the share reporting any tobacco use dropped to 22.4 percent from 33.9 percent, and the rate of those smoking combustible tobacco products dropped to 19.5 percent from 31.5 percent. However, those who reported using smokeless tobacco products increased to 8.8 percent from 8.2 percent.

The increased use of smokeless tobacco was driven by athletes. The rate among non-athletes remained unchanged at 5.9 percent but has “increased significantly” to 11.1 percent from 10 percent in youth athletes.

Researchers suggest that athletes are aware of the adverse consequences of smoking on athletic performance, but may view smokeless tobacco as “less harmful, socially acceptable, or even a way to enhance athletic performance.”

The 2013 YRBS found that 26.3 percent of Kentucky’s high school youth reported any use of tobacco; 17.9 percent were smoking cigarettes, and 13.2 percent reported using smokeless tobacco.

“Tobacco use among youth athletes is of particular concern because most adult tobacco users first try tobacco before age 18,” Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, said in a press release. “The younger people are when they start using tobacco, the more likely they are to become addicted and the more heavily addicted they can become.”

The reports calls for increased education about the dangers of smokeless tobacco; recognition that the tobacco industry pushes smokeless tobacco as an alternative to smoking where it is prohibited; that the role of professional athletes, many who use smokeless tobacco, must be part of the discussion because they are often considered role models by youth; and that “implementing and enforcing tobacco-free policies that prohibit all tobacco use on school campuses and at all public recreational facilities, including stadiums, parks, and school gymnasiums, by players, coaches, referees, and fans might help reduce tobacco use among student athletes.”

As of September, Kentucky had 47 school districts with comprehensive tobacco free policies. These policies cover 45 percent of Kentucky’s students and represents 27 percent of the school districts in the state, according to the Kentucky 100% Tobacco Free Schools website.

“Creating 100 percent tobacco-free environments is one of the best ways we can set our kids up for a healthy future,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said in the release. “It helps them see that being tobacco-free is the way to better health and a longer life.”

Screen-Shot-2015-10-19-at-10.13.13-AM-1

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

October, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Patient Support in Oral Cancer: From Sydney to New York to London, survivors and patients interact through an important portal to get through difficult times

Source: www.prnewswire.com
Author: Press Release
 

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Sept. 28, 2015 — The word “cancer” will incite fear in anyone. When that word comes at the end of a sentence that began with your name, the impact can be life changing. “I had a great job, a beautiful house and a happy family life,” recalls oral cancer survivor and Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) Director of Patient Support Services, Christine Brader. “All that changed once I got sick.” Those affected by oral cancer, like Christine, are saddled not only with the physical challenges of treating and surviving the disease, but they must also live with the emotional uncertainty and anxiety that accompanies a diagnosis. OCF’s Patient Support Forum (oralcancersupport.org) was created specifically to provide patients with the information, guidance, and support they need to face a cancer diagnosis. Now in its 15th year, it has helped tens of thousands navigate a difficult path.

It was nearly 16 years ago that oral cancer survivor and OCF founder Brian Hill began his search for answers. “When I was first diagnosed,” Hill recalls, “I was scrambling for the right information. Once inside the treatment world I was faced with decisions about which treatment path was right for me, uncertainties of what would lay ahead, the arrival of complications unexpected, pain, and ultimately a sense of the loss of control and a resulting fear.” While hospital support groups and some online chat rooms existed at the time, they fell short of providing the insights, guidance and accessibility necessary to have real benefit to a newly diagnosed cancer patient undergoing treatment. “My problems were complex and changing daily. Every day it seemed that something new was occurring that complicated matters, and I needed to talk with someone who could help me digest everything from the new medical terminology, to dealing with side effects of what I was undergoing.” It was through building relationships with other survivors and exchanging stories and information that Hill was able regain hope and envision life after cancer.

In 2001, seeing a need for patients to connect with one another, Hill worked to develop an interactive online forum where patients and survivors could share their knowledge and tell their stories. Christine Brader joined the forum after her first oral cancer diagnosis in 2007. “When I was diagnosed I didn’t know which way to turn, and by finding others who had gone through it, I gained significant peace of mind,” she recalls. “After my third cancer recurrence, I lost 65 pounds, was hospitalized twice for dehydration and malnutrition and was ready to quit. The doctors don’t always prepare patients for the realities of the difficult treatments.” It was the advice from other survivors, words of encouragement and support from the OCF forum community that convinced Christine to continue her treatments and gave her hope. “There’s a whole world of people who have gotten through it and survived, they are living in a world after cancer and are thriving” she says. “Given the extensive disfiguring surgeries, and compromises that I would be forced to live with, I was uncertain if there was even a place for me in the world after fighting to survive. Single, unable to work in my previous vocation, I could not wrap my mind around how I would fit back into a world where everything from esthetics, to the ability to speak clearly carry so much weight. But through this online vehicle, I built friendships, and through one person in particular I was repeatedly told that there can be a rich vibrant life after this terrible cancer, which can leave its visible damage even after survival, no matter how different I was after it all. The transition was not easy, but they were right. Life after my battle is rich in relationships, and meaningful work.” Now, as the patient support administrator for OCF, Christine offers her experience-based insights and emotional support to others just beginning their own battles.

Unlike public chat rooms and social media based groups, OCF’s Patient Support Forum was designed with the users’ privacy and safety in mind. OCF’s forum users’ personal information will never be marketed to by outside companies, and they will never be exposed to advertising; both considerations associated with social media platforms. Anonymous screen names protect privacy and facilitate an open dialogue for difficult topics such as intimacy and depression. “It was important to develop rules to ensure that the information on the forum is reputable, and accurate. Misinformation can facilitate poor decision making, and harm people,” says Hill. To that end, the forum is heavily monitored by volunteer staff with diverse medical backgrounds including dentistry, oncology, research, and nursing and of course long term survivors themselves. Both Hill and Brader agree that the survivors are often the most adept at answering questions correctly and sensitively. “Survivors direct experience many times trumps clinical experience of professionals, though we would never suggest that they have the same level of knowledge. But living on the receiving end of the treatment process definitely provides you with a much different perspective. We don’t let inaccurate information live on our boards,” says Hill, “and we will correct or eliminate the information/comments that are incorrect or scientifically unsupported.”

It is this kind of monitoring and oversight that earned OCF’s websites, oralcancer.org and oralcancersupport.org, Health on the Net’s HONcode certification. The HONcode is a designation reserved for online publishers of trustworthy and reliable medical and health information who have volunteered to adhere to hundreds of strict guidelines and Health on the Net’s code of ethics. This certification is an oversight process that is ongoing, to ensure the consumer that information presented is trustworthy and scientifically accurate; and that protocols for proper informed interaction are in place. With the understanding that poor information can lead to poor choices, OCF has gone to great lengths to protect its members from misleading information.

Today, the Oral Cancer Foundation is working hard to make patients and their families aware that support and answers are available online, for free, 24 hours a day by visiting the web based forum. In keeping with OCF’s missions to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support, the forum has been designed to fulfill the need for reliable medical information and emotional support. With over 10,000 active members, thousands more who visit the site, read the threads of discussion without becoming members or posting themselves, and over a quarter million archived threads of information, the forum has grown into the largest and most well curated databases of oral cancer information and emotional support on the internet. Members now span across the globe and dozens of countries. Even oncology researchers have looked to this online community to develop answers and insights into understanding the patient experience, and improving the ways in which they interact with patients, and anticipate their needs both physical and emotional.

When discussing the relationships he’s made on the forum, Ed Brown, now a 12-year oral cancer survivor says, “Finding each other is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us. When you feel like you’re some kind of freak and struggling alone with your issues, it’s the best feeling to find out there is someone else out there who has dealt with the same thing, someone who knows what it’s like, someone who understands the “work-arounds” for some of the complications of treatments that we all deal with. Thanks to the forum I now know 10,000 survivors who because of our shared experiences are a resource I can turn to.”  Few people can comprehend the pain and hardship of undergoing treatment for a life threatening illness, fewer are aware of the emotional isolation and lonesomeness that accompanies the disease. Only survivors, other patients, and their caregivers live the intimate struggles and battles of will that take place when fighting for your life.

“The support forum became a second family really, not just a bunch of patients or survivors, but a community that I was a part of. We’ve all shared a common experience, endured treatment, survival, complications, and funerals. The camaraderie in the community is the heart and soul of what OCF really is – a group of people helping other people,” says Hill. The individuals who use the support forum have made lifelong friendships and passed along their experiences and knowledge to others.  Brown says, “For every success I’ve had on this journey, likely a thousand people will have known about it.” Sharing in the successes of others and giving back to a community that has embraced you during your difficult times are important reasons why many of the thousands of forum users continue to use the site after they’ve been declared “disease free.”

Hill has called the patient support forum the “heart and soul” of the foundation. Given the foundations many diverse activities; from sponsoring research to advocacy, those that populate the OCF forum, who choose to spend part of their new lives in service to those behind them on the path, he feels they are the palpable core of what OCF is. Few face-to-face support groups can deal with the daily needs of patient ups and downs, as they most often meet once a month, and have less depth of experience to draw from as there are fewer individuals to share their experiences, and fewer survivors attending as they move on from their cancer experience. The OCF forum idea, created well before Google was the major search engine we know today, and before any social media companies like Facebook even existed, has a decade and a half of experience as an Internet based platform to help others… as often as they find a need for it.

Oral cancer is not fought with treatment staff and medicine alone, but in conjunction with reliable medical information to facilitate good decision making, and emotional support and guidance when the questions and weight of the experience seem overwhelming. OCF’s Patient Support Forum is a resource rich with answers, accessible anytime, from nearly anywhere, anonymous, monitored and safe, and free to anyone in need.

For more information about the Oral Cancer Foundation and the Patient Support Forum, please visit oralcancer.org and oralcancersupport.org.

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

Mayor Walsh Wants Ban On Chewing Tobacco At All City Ballparks

Source: www.wbur.org
Author: Philip Marcelo
Curt SchillingFormer Boston Red Sox pitcher and mouth cancer survivor Curt Schilling, pictured here at Fenway Park in 2012, was on hand Wednesday as Mayor Marty Walsh proposed banning smokeless tobacco products from all city professional and amateur athletic venues. (Winslow Townson/AP)

 

From storied Fenway Park to youth baseball diamonds across the city, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is calling for a ban on dip, snuff and chewing tobacco.

With former Red Sox pitcher and mouth cancer survivor Curt Schilling at his side, the mayor on Wednesday proposed banning smokeless tobacco products from all city professional and amateur athletic venues.

“Kids shouldn’t have to watch their role models using tobacco, either at a neighborhood park or on TV,” Walsh said, standing at home plate of a South Boston baseball diamond. “Ballfields are places for mentoring and healthy development. They’re no place for cancer-causing substances.”

Schilling, who revealed earlier this year he was diagnosed with mouth cancer after decades of using chewing tobacco, described his battle with the illness, which he said is in remission.

“It was more painful than anything you could imagine,” he said, addressing the dozens of school-age kids in attendance. “I couldn’t swallow. I had to eat from a tube. I was sick every single day. And if it came back, I don’t know if I would go through the treatment again. It was that bad.”

The 48-year-old ESPN analyst acknowledged Walsh’s proposal will likely meet resistance from major league players, but he believes they will eventually come to accept it, just as they had when smoking was banned in ballparks years ago.

“This is about our kids,” Schilling said. “We have to accept the responsibility that we impact the decisions and the choices that they make.”

Under their union contract, MLB players aren’t banned from using smokeless tobacco products, though they can’t use them during televised interviews and can’t carry them around when fans are in the ballparks.

The Red Sox organization applauded Walsh’s proposal, which requires City Council approval.

“We all know the horrific and tragic stories of ballplayers who have suffered the consequences of using smokeless tobacco,” the team said in a statement. “Our focus on baseball – and on bringing children closer to the game – fortify our resolve to cooperate in this effort.”

Altria, the makers of popular smokeless tobacco products Skoal and Copenhagen, declined to comment Wednesday. Other smokeless tobacco makers did not immediately weigh in.

Walsh’s proposal would apply to everyone in a ballpark, including fans, players, ground crews and concession staff.

The proposed ordinance would cover professional, collegiate, high school or organized amateur sporting events and be effective April 1. His office says those managing sporting event sites would be responsible for assuring compliance. Violators would be subject to a $250 fine.

If approved, Boston would become the second U.S. city, behind San Francisco, to ban chewing tobacco and related products from ballfields. That city’s ban takes effect Jan. 1. Los Angeles is also considering a ban that’s focused solely on baseball and does not impact other sports.

Walsh plans to officially file his proposal Monday.

Specifically, he calls for banning use of smokeless tobacco products, which are defined as any product containing “cut, ground, powdered, or leaf tobacco and is intended to be placed in the oral or nasal cavity.”

Public health officials Wednesday said major league players represent “powerful marketers” for smokeless tobacco products, whether they realize it or not.

Cigarette smoking has been on the decline in the U.S., but smokeless tobacco use among youth has remained relatively steady in recent years, noted Dr. Howard Koh, a former U.S. assistant secretary for health who now teaches at Harvard.

Nearly 15 percent of high-school age boys reported using smokeless products in recent studies, he added.

The Surgeon General and the National Cancer Institute say smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals that can lead to oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer and other health problems like heart disease, gum disease and tooth decay.

“Smokeless tobacco is not harmless,” Koh said. “All of this is preventable. We can do something about this.”

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

August, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

Curt Schilling Reveals his Diagnosis of Oral Cancer and Believes Chewing Tobacco was the Cause

Source: boston.com
Author: Steve Silva
 

Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox pitcher and ESPN analyst, announced today during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma — which is cancer in the mouth — in February.

“This all came about from a dog bite,” Schilling said. “I got bitten by a dog and I had some damage to my finger and I went to see a doctor, and the day that I went to see the doctor, I was driving and I went to rub my neck and I felt a lump on the left side of my neck. And I knew immediately it wasn’t normal. So there happened to be an ENT [Ear, Nose, and Throat] right next door to the hand doctor, and I thought what the heck, let me just stop in and see and so I waited in the office and went in there and they did the biopsy, and two days later, they diagnosed me with squamous cell carcinoma.

“You know what the amazing thing was? And I was just dumbfounded by it. You’ve just been told you have cancer and you walk out into the public and the world’s still going on and it was really a challenge to wrap my head around that. My second thought was, ‘Yeah, really, you think I can handle this too?’ So after a couple of tests, I got sent over to Brigham and Women’s and Dana-Farber and that’s where I met Dr. Haddad and the amazing team of people that got me through my treatment.”

Dr. Robert Haddad, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, described Schilling’s cancer.

“Commonly this is known as mouth cancer,” Dr. Haddad said. “This is the type of the cancer we call the squamous cell carcinoma. It’s cancer of the lining of the mouth and the lump in the neck is why most patients go to the doctor first, because they feel the lump in the neck so that’s the lymph node that’s enlarged and that’s the most common presentation for these cancers. It often presents as a lump in the neck that drives the patient to go see the doctor, and then the biopsy is done and then that shows squamous cell carcinoma, and that’s the type of the cancer.”

The 47-year-old Schilling — who weighed just over 200 pounds prior to his cancer diagnosis — lost 75 pounds during his treatment. Most of the weight loss was due to the fact that he was unable to swallow. He also has lost his ability to taste and smell.

The former Red Sox righthander stressed the importance of getting in for treatment early.

“One of the amazing things was early on when I was talking to [Dr. Haddad] about this, I literally went to see a doctor like five days after I felt the lump, he said the average time for a patient is 10 months,” Schilling said. “Ten months from the time they notice something to the time they say something. I can’t believe… people need to be more self-aware.

“I didn’t talk about it for two reasons. No. 1, I didn’t want to get into the chewing tobacco debate, which I knew was going to come about, which to me, I’ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got… absolutely, no question in my mind about that. And the second thing was I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I didn’t want the pity or any of that stuff because early on… I ended up spending about six months in the hospital because I had a bad reaction. I had a staph infection. I had what’s called C. diff. I had a couple different problems and there was a week there, there’s a week of my life I don’t remember while I was in the hospital going through this.

“The second or third day — I got chemo and radiation for seven weeks — and I came back to the room and my family was sitting there and I thought, ‘You know what, this could be so much worse. It could be one of my kids, it’s not. I’m the one guy in my family that can handle this,’ and so from that perspective it never, ever said ‘Why me? And I never will. I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably that chewing is what gave me cancer and I’m not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing. I will say this: I did for about 30 years. It was an addictive habit. I can think of so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever, and I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part. I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit. The pain that I was in going through this treatment, the second or third day it was the only thing in my life that had that I wish I could go back and never have dipped. Not once. It was so painful.”

According to Schilling, the most painful part of the treatment was the radiation, which he received five days a week over seven weeks. Schilling’s doctors created a pliable mask to protect his face. Schilling called it “the straitjacket for when they are giving you radiation.”

“The first day I went in, they clamped [the mask] down, they do the radiation into the tumors,” Schilling said. “The second day they did it. And about the third day I started developing almost a phobia and I literally had to be medicated for the seven weeks to go and do that. I couldn’t control myself under the mask… If this happened again, I’m not sure if I would go through the treatment again, it was that painful.”

Dr. Haddad concurred that chewing tobacco leads to the mouth cancer Schilling was diagnosed with.

“One of the directs for oral cancer is smokeless tobacco, just what we’re talking about here,” Dr. Haddad said. “So it is not a question mark. This is shown repeatedly and the National Cancer Institute clearly makes the case that any form of tobacco is harmful and should not be used.”

Schilling spoke about the day he found out about Tony Gwynn’s death. Gwynn – a Hall of Famer — died of salivary gland cancer on June 16 at the age of 54. Gwynn blamed his mouth cancer on his habit of dipping smokeless tobacco during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres.

“I knew a while ago that things were not going well just because he went radio silent after everything that happened,” Schilling said. “From the people I talked to, he was in very, very bad shape at the end. Again, I got lucky. There’s so may other places this could have come up and they could have had to take half my jaw. I met a guy — so I was Brigham and Women’s palliative care floor, the fifth floor, which is kind of a new thing and an amazing thing — who had, smoker, who had cancer of the mouth and they had to cut off half of his tongue and they went down and grafted from his forearm and rebuilt it back. Just the stuff was mind boggling…

“I’ve seen Dana-Farber from the other side. As someone who’s been around spring training with the kids. I’ve been over there and visited a couple of times, but being on this side of it was mind boggling.”

Schilling spoke about what lies ahead for him from hereon out.

“I’m in remission,” he said. “Doc and I are going to be meeting each other on and off for the next five years. It’s the recovery that’s a challenge because there are so many things that are damaged during the process. I don’t have any salivary glands so I can’t taste anything and I can’t smell anything right now so and there’s no guarantee they’ll come back.”

Dr. Haddad stressed that these types of cancers are treatable and that his sense of taste and smell should come back.

“Without discussing this specific case, in head and neck cancers or cancers of the mouth, these are treatable cancers, these are curable cancers in a large percentage of patients,” Dr. Haddad said. “But the treatment is very tough, it’s very grueling, a lot of side effects. Those side effects are acute, meaning they happen [during] the first year of treatment like we’re seeing now with Curt: the dry mouth and the trouble swallowing and eating, the infections, and there’s the long-term side effects, So that is the recovery process that can take up to five years but these cancers are treatable, are curable, they do require a lot of specialties coming together.”

Clay Buchholz and Dustin Pedroia, two Red Sox stars with young children, addressed their chewing habit at Fenway Park in June.

“Cancer runs in my family,” said Buchholz, as he sat in front of his locker with a wad of smokeless tobacco wedged between his lower lip and gums. “There’s been people that have never smoked a cigarette or had a dip or chew and they’ve died of lung cancer.

“Everybody here is a grown man, and I think that’s how everybody views it. I don’t dip during the offseason, it’s only during baseball. It’s more of a stress-reliever type of thing for me.”

I’m trying to stop,” said Pedroia. “It’s not a good habit. It’s one of those things, you try like heck. I wish I had never started.

“Everyone crushes me about it. You don’t want any kid to start doing it. Obviously, it’s addicting. It’s not good for you and can cause a lot of problems.

“You try the best you can to stop or not start it. It’s like any bad habit. People do things that aren’t good for you. A lot of things can hurt yourself, whether its drinking or tobacco. It’s hard to stop. I’ve stopped a few times and started back up. But I’ve cut back a lot.”

“I’m addicted to it, former Sox pitcher Josh Beckett told the Los Angeles Times after Gwynn’s death. “It’s more than just the nicotine. Its the oral fixation. I don’t think anyone does it just for the nicotine thing, or wed probably all be on the patch.”

The 2011 labor agreement between the players’ union and Major League Baseball included certain limits on the use of smokeless tobacco, but did not ban its use entirely. Players are not allowed to carry tobacco packages in their uniform pockets, and tobacco use during televised interviews and non-game functions is prohibited. Also, teams cannot provide tobacco for players.

In June, nine major medical and public health organizations have written to MLB and the players’ union urging them to agree to a complete prohibition on tobacco use at ballparks and on camera.

In April, Schilling’s wife Shonda, herself a melanoma survivor, tweeted that Schilling had finished radiation.

On Facebook that month, Schilling wrote, To the many, many amazing folks at Dana Farber, [Brigham and Women’s Hospital] and [Massachusetts General Hospital], thank you and to the amazing team these last 5 months. I’ve been told my cancer is in remission, start the 5-year clock.

In May, a weakened Schilling took the field at Fenway as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the 2004 championship team. Schilling was aided onto the field by his son Gehrig and said he was back in the hospital two days later.

“I was in the hospital at the time, and they wouldn’t let me come over here and go back,” Schilling said. “So I had to determine if I was OK and ready to be discharged and I said ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, OK,’ and two days later I was back in the hospital. That’s why Gehrig walked out with me because I was afraid I was going to fall on the way in because I was so discombobulated. But it was nice. It was good to see the guys.”

On June 25, Schilling tweeted: “As of yesterday I am in remission. Start the 5 year clock!”

Schilling, who spent four seasons of his 20-year major league career with the Red Sox and was instrumental in their World Series victories in 2004 and ’07, joined ESPN as a studio analyst for ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” in 2010.

In December, he was chosen to replace Orel Hershiser for the high-profile role as a color analyst on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcasts alongside Dan Shulman and John Kruk.

Schilling pitched for five teams during his major league career, winning 216 games and compiling 3,116 strikeouts. He made six All-Star teams, won at least 21 games in a season three times — including in 2004 with the Red Sox. He won his first of three World Series titles with the 2001 Diamondbacks.

Schilling had found his niche as an analyst after enduring some difficult times in recent years. A video game business suffered a prominent and costly failure in Rhode Island, one that cost the state tens of millions of dollars and Schilling the bulk of his baseball fortune. He revealed to the Globe’s Stan Grossfeld in an August 2013 story that he suffered a heart attack in November 2011 that required surgery to implant a stent in an artery.

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

Tony Gwynn makes statement regarding spit tobacco use weeks before death

Author: Michael Chen
Source: 10news.com
 

SAN DIEGO – One of Tony Gwynn’s last acts was issuing a simple message about the habit he blamed for his cancer.

About two and half months ago, Gwynn received a request from the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society – known as PBATS – to do a taped interview on the dangers of spit tobacco to be shown to players.

“It came back that Tony was entirely sick to do that,” said Neil Romano, adviser to the PBATS.

Romano says Gwynn’s agent then called, saying Gwynn felt bad for not taking part.

Gwynn blamed his decades-long use of chew tobacco for his mouth cancer.

On May 28, less than three weeks before Gwynn’s death, the group got final confirmation through his agent that they could use an emailed statement.

Gwynn’s message: “My advice to anyone would be if they aren’t using spit tobacco, please don’t start. And if you are using, try to quit, if not for yourself then do it for the people you love.”

“The fact that this was one of his last acts goes to his class, his character as a person, and frankly, his love for the game and the players,” said Romano.

When Gwynn was first diagnosed, Major League Baseball banned players from putting tins in pockets and using during interviews, but usage during games is still allowed.

Mark Grudzielanek retired in 2010 after a 15-year career. He never used but said when he started, it was readily available through clubhouse staff.

“Whatever we needed, they went and got it,” said Grudzielanek.

Romano says more than a decade ago, MLB started cracking down on that practice. Chew was also banned in the minors.

About a third of major league players still dip. Critics say that is a prime reason why a federal study found that 20 percent of high school boys chew.

Grudzielanek hopes Gwynn’s final message will make a difference. The five-minute film, which also commemorates Gwynn, was completed on June 13.

A few days ago, Gwynn protégé and pitcher Stephen Strasburg said he is quitting chew for his daughter.

“It’s taken lives and let’s hope this is the last life, and we can control this and get these guys to understand how bad it is for you,” said Grudzielanek. “To stop kids from doing it, it has to stop from the top.”

In recent days, some have called for a spit tobacco ban to be looked at with a new MLB player labor agreement in 2016.

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