smokers

HPV alters oral-cancer expectations

Source: www.dispatch.com
Author: staff

Demographics are important to physicians.

Demographics help guide us toward more-likely and less-likely diagnoses in patients.In their most basic form, they mean we are surprised when we learn that the 90-year-old woman with hand pain suffered the injury while boxing. On the other hand, demographics are why a doctor tells the overweight man with a history of hypertension that he is “a heart attack waiting to happen.”Most disease processes can be characterized by a typical patient and are based on age, gender and sometimes ethnicity or socio-economic class.

This has long been the case with oral-cancer cases. Most physicians have an idea of a typical oral-cancer patient. We envision an older, male patient with few teeth following a lifetime of poor oral health. They generally have lower income and are lifelong smokers.

That’s why the tonsillar-cancer patient was such a surprise to me. He was 34, upper-middle class and did not smoke or drink. He had recently undergone surgery to remove his tonsils and a good portion of the back of his throat.

He had come into the emergency department that day because he was having difficulty breathing and swallowing. When I walked into the room, he was sitting on a gurney and drooling into a garbage can that he kept between his knees. The skin around his neck looked swollen and tight, leaving me to imagine how much swelling there was in the back of his throat.His surgery had been six days earlier, and he had been doing well at home until that day.

The possibilities ran through my head. Was it an infection in the soft tissue of his neck? Was it an abscess? Or was it normal post-operative changes, including inflammation? Swelling in that area heightens our level of concern for having to secure an airway. Surgically creating an airway always is a consideration.Fortunately, my patient was able to lie flat without feeling that his airway was closing.

A CT scan of his head and neck showed narrowing around his airway, but no discrete area of pus to drain. The soft-tissue swelling around the neck looked bad, but he felt comfortable as long as he sat up. We treated him with steroids and antibiotics and gave him aerosolized adrenaline to constrict the blood vessels of the airway and decrease the swelling. Within an hour, he looked much better. This patient spurred my interest. Was he a fluke?Here was a young, otherwise healthy man without risk factors for oral cancer, yet he had developed such a horrible disease. He didn’t fit any of the demographics I knew for a patient with a head and neck cancer.

The answer is that my patient is the new face of head and neck cancer. Human papillomavirus, or HPV — the same virus linked to cervical cancer in women — is being linked to oral cancers in men.Typically, 10 percent to 15 percent of the population is infected with HPV, and the incidence increases if a sexual partner is infected or the patient is HIV-positive.

HPV causes cancer in humans, monkeys, cats, dogs, cattle, mice, turtles and many other species. The literature is replete with example after example.

The incidence of HPV in humans has increased significantly. Since the 1970s, there has been roughly a threefold increase in incidence of HPV associated with tonsillar cancers.

There really is no cure for HPV once a patient is infected. We can generally live with the virus, but we are stuck with the bug and the increased risk of cancer. This is why there is such a push to prevent the infection; doing so essentially gets as close as we can to preventing cancer. There is a vaccine for the most-common causative strains of HPV associated with cervical cancer. Preventing tonsillar and oral cancers might be the next step.

Remembering my patient, I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t have prevented some of this. More funding for research? More preventive measures? Better patient education? Yes, yes and yes.

December, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

New research reveals genetic mutations of HNC

Source: www.drbicuspid.com
Author: DrBicuspid Staff

New findings regarding the genetic mutations that cause head and neck cancer (HNC) may lead to new therapies, according to collaborative research presented in November at the 2012 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium in New York City.

Aaron Tward, MD, PhD, and colleagues analyzed tumor samples provided by the University of Pittsburgh from 92 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), according to an article on onclive.com.

Patient samples were chosen to reflect the normal distribution of patients with these cancers — that is, mostly men and smokers, noted Dr. Tward. Of these patients, 89% reported a history of tobacco use and 79% alcohol use; 14% of all tumors and 53% of oropharyngeal tumors were found to be positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).

Tumor sites also were selected to be roughly representative of the general HNSCC patient population — that is, most were oral cavity cancers, followed by a substantial proportion of oropharynx cancer samples and a few from patients with hypopharyngeal or laryngeal tumors.

Investigators used hybrid capture sequencing to compare tumor tissue and nontumor tissue from the same patient. They also compared the total number of mutations in the HNSCC samples with samples from previous tumor studies.

The analysis yielded a large number of mutations. For example, 5,000 genes had at least one mutation, and 1,300 had at least two, the researchers reported. Dr. Tward emphasized, however, that most of these are not implicated either in promoting or maintaining the cancer. He said the vast majority are “passengers” — that is, mutations alongside another mutation that acts as a “driver.”

December, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Searching for new pathways and treatments for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Source: www.onclive.com
Author: Lauren M. Green

Scientists now know a lot more about the genetic landscape of head and neck cancer and hope that eventually this knowledge will lead the way to new therapies, according to Aaron D. Tward, MD, PhD, of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tward described findings of recent collaborative research on the topic at the 2012 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium.

For this research, Tward, also with the Department of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School and a clinical fellow in those specialties at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary in Boston, and colleagues analyzed tumor samples provided by the University of Pittsburgh from 92 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The samples were chosen to be reflective of the normal distribution of patients with these cancers, that is, “mostly men and mostly smokers,” noted Tward. Of these patients, 89% reported a history of tobacco use and 79% alcohol use; 14% of all tumors and 53% of oropharyngeal tumors were found to be positive for human papillomavirus.

Tumor sites also were selected so as to be roughly representative of the general HNSCC patient population; thus, most were oral cavity cancers, followed by a substantial proportion of oropharynx cancer samples, and a few from patients with hypopharyngeal or laryngeal tumors, Tward explained.

Investigators used hybrid capture sequencing to compare tumor tissue with nontumor tissue from the same individual. They also compared the total number of mutations in the HNSCC samples with samples from previous tumor studies done at Broad. Tward noted that HNSCC clusters with lung cancer, in that both possess a relatively high number of mutations, sometimes referred to as “the smoking cluster.”

The analysis yielded a very large number of mutations; for example, 5000 genes had at least one mutation, and 1300 had at least two. Tward emphasized, however, that most of these are not implicated either in promoting or maintaining the cancer. “The vast majority,” he said, “are what we call ‘passengers,’ that is, mutations alongside another mutation that is acting as a ‘driver.’” Tward said his colleagues at Broad have developed a set of algorithms to help researchers distinguish between the two.

Analysis using these algorithms confirmed earlier findings implicating TP53, CDKN2A, PTEN, PI3KCA, and HRAS in head and neck malignancies. Of particular interest, however, are mutations they discovered that have not previously been implicated in these cancers: TP63, IRF6, MED1, and, notably, NOTCH.

Tward explained that NOTCH, depending on the cell in which it resides, can act either as an oncogene (as is the case with acute lymphoblastic leukemia) or as a tumor suppressor gene in HNSCC and skin cancer; in these cancers, NOTCH is “a critical player in the decision to stop proliferating,” he continued. When mutations inactivate NOTCH, terminal differentiation ceases, causing unrestrained proliferation. To illustrate the challenge posed by NOTCH’s dual mechanisms, Tward noted a clinical trial testing a gamma secretase inhibitor predicted to inhibit NOTCH in patients with Alzheimer’s disease that had to be stopped because the drug was causing an increase in squamous cell cancers in the treatment arm.

The researchers also found that mutations in genes at the “top of our rank list” for head and neck cancers and defects in squamous differentiation also are present in patients with cleft palate syndromes. “We think this is all related,” said Tward.

“When we add all this up, we come up with wiring patterns in head and neck cancer,” which can be used to inform further studies. He added that researchers did not find many oncogenes in these tumor samples, an exception being PI3KCA. Tward suggested that trials with PI3K inhibitors are likely to be fruitful in patients with HNSCC, but “only for those who have the mutation.” He also noted that investigators did not find EGFR mutations, a finding consistent with the much larger Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data set.

Source:
Stransky N, Egloff AM, Tward AD, et al. The mutational landscape of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Science. 2011;333(6046):1157-1160.

December, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Link between coffee and dental care – lower your oral cancer risk

Source: blogjam.eu
Author: Jenny L McCoy

Studies have already shown that coffee may benefit dental care by reducing the risk of developing cavities. Now there’s even more good news for java junkies. Researchers have discovered that drinking a lot of coffee actually lowers your risk of mouth and throat cancer.

According to the findings featured in WebMD, people who drink more than four servings of coffee daily have nearly a 40% lower chance of contracting mouth or throat cancer when compared to people who don’t drink coffee. For those who drank less than five cups of coffee daily, the level of protection fell to still significant 4% lower odds for contracting mouth and throat cancer for each cup of coffee consumed each day. Protection for oral and pharyngeal cancer was evident, but protection against cancer of the larynx was not.

Coffee’s protective effect was shown to remain intact even for drinkers and smokers, despite the fact that tobacco and alcohol consumption are linked to head and neck cancers. Additionally, the protection effect didn’t demonstrate a boost by consuming fruits and vegetables, which are also known to protect against head and neck cancers.

The researchers at the University of Milan reached these findings when they analyzed nine studies comparing 5,139 people with head and neck cancer to 9,028 people without cancer.

So, which ingredient in coffee is responsible for reducing the risk of oral cancer? The study dismissed caffeine as a likely possibility since drinking tea, even in mass quantities, was not protective.

The researchers pointed out that coffee contains hundreds of chemicals. Of those, cafestol and kahweol have anti-cancer properties. However, future studies will have to determine more decidedly if these chemicals actually protect against cancer in people.

Previous studies in Wired Magazine have credited Trigonelline, an alkaloid, in coffee as a cavity-fighting agent. While the ingredient is recognized for giving coffee its taste, it’s also proven to prevent craters from forming in teeth, averting the cavity-causing bacterium Streptococcus from attaching to teeth.

The American Dental Association reminds us that coffee alone cannot create optimal dental health. In fact, excess coffee can stain teeth. The ADA recommends traditional dental care that includes brushing twice daily, flossing each day, eating a balanced diet, and regularly visiting the dentist.

August, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

CDC says graphic anti-smoking ads work, more on way

Source: USA Today

The federal government says its graphic ad campaign showing diseased smokers has been such a success that it is planning another round next year to nudge more Americans to kick the habit.

The ads, which ran for 12 weeks in spring and early summer, aimed to get 500,000 people to try to quit and 50,000 to kick the habit long-term.

“The initial results suggest the impact will be even greater than that,” says Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which spearheaded the $54 million campaign. The ads showed real Americans talking about how smoking caused their paralysis, lung removal and amputations.

He says it’s the first time the U.S. government has paid for anti-smoking ads, although some media ran them free.

The CDC doesn’t have a tally yet on how many people actually tried to quit, but it says the ads generated 192,000 extra calls — more than double the usual volume — to its national toll-free quit line, 800-QUIT-NOW, and 417,000 new visitors to smokefree.gov, its website offering cessation tips. That’s triple the site’s previous traffic.

“We do plan to do another (campaign) next year,” Frieden says, adding that he has no details yet on the ads or their timing. He says the amount the CDC spent this year is a pittance compared with the $10 billion the tobacco industry spends annually to market its products.

The nation’s two largest tobacco companies, Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, declined to comment on the ads. Both reported solid second-quarter 2012 earnings.

Frieden says the print, broadcast and online ads struck a chord. “What we heard from people is they wished they’d seen them years ago.”

Christi Leigh Sims, 42, says she was shocked into action by the ad showing a woman whose throat cancer caused her to lose her teeth, hair and larynx, and resulted in a hole in her throat. So in late March, Sims quit — cold turkey — after about 20 years of smoking.

“I wanted to change my life now before it was too late,” says Sims, a mother of two from Arlington, Texas. “I didn’t want to look or live like that.” The ad shows a woman getting dressed with a wig and false teeth.

“We made the danger accessible and realistic,” says Eric Asche, who works for the anti-smoking group Legacy and who consulted with the CDC on the ads. “When you personalize a story, it’s powerful.”

Too powerful for some. The ads “are shocking, disgusting and too provocative — and they’ve crossed the line,” wrote stay-at-home dad Joel Mathis in a Scripps Howard News Service column. “The non-smoking majority is being subjected to an assault on our senses.”

Glenn Leshner, a University of Missouri researcher who has studied the effectiveness of anti-smoking ads in a lab setting, says they draw more attention when they feature either a health threat or disgusting images. Yet when they have both, he’s found viewers start to withdraw.

Frieden, a physician who has treated many smokers, defends the ads.

“It’s important that everyone understands the impact of smoking,” he says.

He adds that most people don’t realize that smoking causes more than lung cancer and heart disease.

Health care costs are $2,000 more each year for smokers — about 20% of U.S. adults — than for non-smokers, Frieden says, and smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths.

“This campaign pulled back the curtain,” he says.

Click on this link to view the video: http://bcove.me/4yt906qq

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

August, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Robotic surgery vs. radiation therapy: study will find which better for throat cancer

Source: http://www.windsorstar.com/
Author: Beatrice Fantoni, The Windsor Star

In the first trial of its kind in the world, doctors in London, Ont., are comparing robotic surgery and radiation therapy to find out which method helps throat-cancer patients retain speech and swallowing functions – two very important functions that can have a serious effect on quality of life for cancer survivors.

Dr. Anthony Nichols and Dr. David Palma of the London Health Sciences Centre are working with 68 test subjects who have cancer of the back of the throat (also known as oropharyngeal cancer) and measuring the swallowing functions of each patient one year after treatment.

Because the cure rate for oropharyngeal cancer is pretty good, Nichols said, he and Palma want to focus on how to improve patients’ post-treatment quality of life.

In Canada, the standard way of treating oropharyngeal cancer is with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. However, Nichols said, there can be some longterm side-effects with this treatment, such as dry mouth, hearing loss, taste changes and compromised swallowing function.

“The side-effects are more than what we’d like,” said Palma. “We want to improve the quality of life.”

Surgery using a robot is a newer treatment that could perhaps be more appropriate for some oropharyngeal cancer patients, Nichols said. London is currently the only site in Canada to offer what is known as transoral robotic surgery.

The robot sounds promising, Palma said, and so it warrants more study.

“We don’t really know if the ‘surgery first’ approach is best,” Palma said, at least when it comes to swallowing.

Nichols said that cancer of the back of throat is “dramatically” on the rise in Canada partly because of the growing prevalence of the human papilloma virus.

Since the mid-1990s, the number of cases has more than doubled.

Although oropharyngeal cancer was mostly seen in older patients who were heavy smokers and drinkers, Nichols said, doctors are seeing more and more cases caused by HPV, and those cases are usually in young and otherwise healthy patients.

The trial is randomized. The patients will be randomly assigned either radiation therapy or robotic surgery.

Then, to figure out which treatment is better, Nichols and Palma will collect information about each patient’s quality of life, side-effects and survival.

Palma said they expect to have results in about five years.

August, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Cancer Patients Who Smoke Report Worse Pain, Symptoms

Source: MedScapeToday.com

February 24, 2012 (Palm Springs, California) — Cancer patients who smoke experience more severe symptoms than nonsmoking cancer patients and are also at greater risk of misusing opioids, a new study shows.

“Our findings show a profile of higher levels of physical symptoms (pain, fatigue, poor appetite, and insomnia) and psychological symptoms (depression and anxiety) among smokers than non-smokers,” report Diane Novy, PhD, from the Pain Management Center at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and colleagues.

The findings underscore the importance of smoking cessation for this patient population, she told Medscape Medical News, even though it’s unclear if there is a causal effect.

“We don’t know the cause. They may smoke more because of the pain,” she said in an interview. However, studies also show that smoking has been known to increase certain types of pain such as back pain, and nerve pain, she added. “If we can motivate them to stop smoking, I think they’re better off.”

The findings were presented here at the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 28th Annual Meeting.

Pain, Fatigue, Insomnia

The study included 486 cancer patients (52% female), with a mean age of 55 years, who were referred to the Pain Management Center for uncontrolled pain. Ninety-four patients were smokers, and the rest (n = 356), classified as nonsmokers, were former smokers or never-smokers. The patients were diagnosed with a wide range of cancers, the most common being gastrointestinal (18.5%), followed by hematologic (15%) and head and neck cancer (14.6%).

The most common cancer among the smokers was head and neck cancer (22.3% vs 12.8% in nonsmokers), and the most common cancer in nonsmokers was gastrointestinal (19.9% vs 12.8% in smokers). Lung cancer was slightly less common among smokers than nonsmokers (10.6% vs 11.5%).

As part of their intake, patients completed the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) and the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP).

The ESAS showed that pain, fatigue, insomnia, appetite, depression, and anxiety were all statistically significantly worse in smokers than nonsmokers.

Specifically, on a scale of 0 (no symptoms) to 10, smokers reported the following:

  • a median pain level of 6.5 compared with 5 in nonsmokers (P < .001);
  • a median fatigue level of 8 compared with 7 in nonsmokers (P < .001);
  • a median depression level of 5 compared with 3 in nonsmokers (P < .001);
  • a median anxiety level of 6 compared with 3 in nonsmokers (P < .001);
  • a median level of 5 for poor appetite compared with 3 in nonsmokers (P = .023); and
  • a median insomnia level of 6 compared with 4 in nonsmokers (P = .026).

In addition, the SOAPP suggested that smokers were at greater risk for opioid misuse than were nonsmokers. Smokers reported more frequent mood swings than nonsmokers (26.6% vs 12.5%; P = .002) and were more likely to admit to occasional use of medication in a manner other than how it was prescribed (39.4% vs 19.6%; P < .001), occasional use of illegal drugs in the past 5 years (13.8% vs 2.6%; P < .001), and past legal problems or arrest (25.5% vs 8.2%; P < .001).

Further, among the smokers, 51% reported that they smoke within an hour of waking — an indication of higher risk for opioid misuse compared with smokers who delay their first cigarette.

Taken together, the findings point to the importance of extra caution when managing pain in cancer patients, said Dr. Novy.

“With cancer patients, opioids will always be the mainstay of treatment,” she said. With smokers, “we might change the route of delivery, so it might be a fentanyl patch that the patient can’t misuse, or it might be an opioid that does not have as much addiction potential like methadone, or maybe nerve blocks or other procedures.”

Smoking cessation should also be emphasized, she added. “When we work with patients and we’re able to say smokers seem to experience more pain and more of a symptom burden… for some patients it is an amazing wake-up call.”

On the basis of her results she suggests a clinical interview that explores a patient’s pain coping mechanisms and smoking triggers could help to inform treatment.

“For example, if expectation of analgesic benefit appeared to be an important smoking motivator, challenging these expectations and increasing coping self-efficacy would be reasonable treatment goals,” she reported.

If future studies confirm that smoking is associated with depression symptoms, treatment of depression would be appropriate.

Bi-Directional Interaction

The study by Dr. Novy and colleagues “makes an important contribution to a small, but rapidly growing scientific literature regarding complex and potentially bi-directional interactions between pain and smoking,” commented Joseph W. Ditre, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Texas A & M University in College Station.

“There is growing empirical and clinical interest in purported associations between tobacco smoking and the aggravation of cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, such as pain,” said Dr. Ditre, who recently published findings very similar to those of the current study.

“The current findings are highly consistent with the results of our 2011 study, which showed that continued smoking despite a cancer diagnosis was associated with greater pain severity and interference from pain,” he told Medscape Medical News.

“Some researchers have suggested that other factors (eg, depression) may be responsible for observed relations between smoking and increased pain,” he noted. “Thus, it would be interesting to know whether the current findings remain significant after accounting for sociodemographic, disease-specific, and psychiatric factors. Also, to get a better sense of whether continued smoking may increase pain and functional impairment in a causal fashion, future research should investigate longitudinal relations between continued smoking, smoking abstinence, and pain-related outcomes among persons with cancer.”

He said he agreed with Dr. Novy that smoking cessation should be emphasized in this population.

“Interestingly, our 2011 study showed a negative correlation between pain ratings and number of years since quitting smoking, suggesting that quitting smoking may confer benefit with respect to pain reporting,” he told Medscape Medical News. “Conversely, there is some question as to whether abstaining from smoking may increase pain in the short term (perhaps via removal of a preferred coping strategy, or via direct neurobiological processes).

“That said, smoking cessation is clearly indicated for persons with cancer, not just because smoking may increase pain, but because persistent smoking has been associated with impaired healing, reduced treatment efficacy, and increased risk for developing a second primary cancer,” Dr. Ditre added. “Thus, the advantages of quitting smoking likely greatly outweigh potential disadvantages, especially with respect to cancer-related outcomes.”

The study was supported by funding from the American Cancer Society and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Novy has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr. Ditre and his coauthors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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

February, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Erlotinib dose doubled for smokers with head/neck cancer

Source: www.oncologyreport.com
Author: Miriam E. Tucker

Giving smokers a higher, short-course dose of erlotinib before definitive surgery for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck resulted in favorable responses for the first patients evaluated in a small pilot study.

Investigators gave 300 mg of erlotinib (Tarceva) to smokers daily and 150 mg daily to nonsmokers who had a waiting period of more than 14 days before scheduled surgery for head and neck cancer. Seven of the 10 patients evaluated so far had partial responses and 3 had stable disease, according to a poster presented at a head and neck cancer symposium sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology. The study was based on recent data in non–small cell lung cancer

(NSCLC) patients showing that smokers metabolize erlotinib, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor, twice as quickly as do nonsmokers (J. Clin. Oncol. 2009;27:1220-6), said lead author Dr. Mercedes Porosnicu of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, N.C. That study established the maximum tolerated dose of erlotinib at 300 mg daily in NSCLC patients who smoke.

Dr. Poroniscu’s presentation included the case study of a smoker with a very large oral cavity tumor protruding through his lips. He was described as being in significant pain and unable to eat or chew. The first CT scan showed a tumor of at least 8 cm and there was “significant metabolic activity” on PET scan.

“At 6 days of erlotinib treatment, his tumor was obviously smaller and he could chew, eat, and talk. Metabolic activity on PET scan dropped to 44% compared to initial tumor metabolic activity,” Dr. Porosnicu said. “At the end of 14 days’ treatment, his tumor was at least 20% smaller, and he had gained 5 pounds. His surgery wasn’t delayed, and the only treatment-related toxicity was a minimal skin rash.”

A total of 12 patients have been treated to date, for an average of 18.2 days, she reported. Nine were smokers and three were nonsmokers. All patients, smokers and nonsmokers, tolerated the erlotinib dose well with no serious adverse events and no delays in the scheduled time of surgical intervention. There were no grade 3 or 4 toxicities.

Of 10 evaluable patients (including 8 smokers who received 300 mg), 7 (including 5 smokers) showed a partial response, as defined by at least a 20% reduction in maximum tumor diameter. The other three patients (all smokers) showed stable disease. Two of the 12 treated patients received shorter duration treatment but nonetheless displayed good responses.

January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

British throat cancer Europe’s highest thanks to obesity and alcohol

Source: www.lifeinsurance.co.uk
Author: Lana Clements

The UK suffers the highest rate of throat cancer in Europe, double the average rate, according to new analysis by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). Britain’s high level of alcohol consumption and obesity are blamed for the figures.

Using World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, the WCRF found that around six out of every 100,000 people develop throat cancer in the UK, while the European average stands at about three.

The findings come as the British Liver Trust reports a 74% increase of liver cancer deaths in England and Wales since 1997 as ten people a day now die from the disease.

Liver and throat cancer are both strongly linked to obesity and alcohol consumption, while throat cancer is also linked to smokers and liver cancer to hepatitis B.

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, attacked the government over the UK’s strategy towards liver damage: “At the moment all we are seeing are weak policies or no action at all.

“Our government-led alcohol policies are a joke and despite nearly every other developed nation having universal vaccination for hepatitis B we are still debating whether we should, while this debate continues many are being infected and for some this will lead to them dying of liver cancer.”

According to the British Liver trust, liver cancer survival rates have not improved during the last three decades, even though scientific treatment has moved forward, because of the advanced stage of the disease at diagnosis.

The Department of Health responded to both sets of cancer figures by admitting that while the number of smokers has fallen, more needs to be done to maintain the progress and to tackle obesity and alcohol consumption.

November, 2011|Oral Cancer News|

Although Most Smokers Want to Quit… Only a Fraction Actually Do

Source: The Wall Street Journal
Author: Betsy McKay

 

More than two-thirds of American smokers want to quit, but only a fraction actually do, underscoring a need for more services, messages, and access to medications to help them kick the habit, according to a new government report out today.

Nearly 69% of adult smokers wanted to quit in 2010 and more than half tried, but only 6.2% succeeded, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Those who try to quit can double or triple their chances with counseling or medications, but most of those who did try to quit in 2010 didn’t use either. Nor did they receive advice on how to quit from a doctor.

The findings suggest more needs to be done to help smokers quit — particularly certain segments of the population with low quit rates, said Tim McAfee, director of the public health agency’s Office on Smoking and Health, in an interview.

Nearly 76% of African-American smokers wanted to quit last year, and 59% tried — well above the national average, said McAfee. But a mere 3.2% succeeded, which is the lowest rate among measured races and ethnicities. American smokers with college degrees had a far higher rate of success at quitting — 11.4% — than smokers with fewer than 12 years of schooling, who had only a 3.2% success rate.

Still, McAfee said, there are some encouraging signs. For example, the percentage of young adults between the ages of 25 and 44 who want to quit has climbed over the past decade. “We think that’s incredibly important and the influence perhaps of large policy shifts in the U.S.” such as smoke-free laws and excise taxes, he said. (By contrast, interest in quitting in some other countries, such as China, is low.)

State Medicaid programs are now required as part of health reform to pay for smoking cessation services for pregnant women, and the federal government also now allows states to provide coverage for medicines and counseling for other Medicaid recipients.

But “we lost some momentum” in enacting smoke-free laws, McAfee said. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C., have comprehensive smoke-free laws in place but none has been added to the list so far in 2011. The most recent state to go smoke-free was South Dakota, last November.

A court-ordered temporary halt earlier this week to a government plan to put graphic warning labels on cigarette packs could also set back efforts to get people to smoke, McAfee said.

That’s not only because the images — such as one of a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a hole in his throat — are meant to discourage smoking, but the planned labels also include telephone quitline information. A federal judge ordered the temporary halt after tobacco companies argued it would violate their constitutional right to free speech.

November, 2011|Oral Cancer News|