Monthly Archives: December 2006

Cryoblation May Help Preserve Voice in Glottic Cancer

  • 12/3/2006
  • internet web article
  • staff

According to an article recently published in the Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, treatment with cryboalative therapy may help preserve voice function in patients with cancer of the glottis.

The glottis is the space directly above the vocal cords. Cancer of the glottis is treated with the surgical removal of the cancer, which is often followed by radiation therapy. Unfortunately, preservation of voice function is often severely impaired with standard treatments—a result that negatively impacts patient quality of life. Researchers continue to evaluate novel ways to preserve quality of life while producing positive outcomes for patients with cancer of the glottis.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic recently evaluated data regarding voice preservation after cryoablative therapy (use of freezing temperatures to kill cancer cells) in the treatment of patients with cancer of the glottis that had not spread to other sites in the body. This study included 20 patients who initially had their cancer removed with carbon dioxide laser therapy, followed by cryoablation.

– At nearly 33 months follow-up, only one patient experienced a cancer recurrence at the site of treatment.

– Treatment with carbon dioxide laser therapy and cryoablative therapy was associated with a significant improvement in voice quality.

– Long-term voice impairment was improved compared with pretreatment conditions, even among patients requiring the most extensive treatment.

The researchers concluded that the combination of carbon dioxide laser surgery and cryoablative therapy may result in better voice quality than standard radiation therapy among patients with early cancer of the glottis.

Patients with early glottic cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of cryoablative therapy or the participation in a clinical trial further evaluating cryoablation or other therapeutic strategies. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute ( and

Knott P, Milstein C, Hicks D, et al. Vocal Outcomes After Laser Resection of Early-Stage Glottic Cancer With Adjuvant Cryotherapy. Archives of Otololaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. 2006; 132:1226-1230.

December, 2006|Archive|

Tobacco manufacturers’ defence against plaintiffs’ claims of cancer causation: throwing mud at the wall and hoping some of it will stick

  • 12/3/2006
  • Detroit, MI
  • S Milberger et al.
  • Tob. Control, December 1, 2006; 15 Suppl 4: iv17-iv26

In the late 1990s and the early part of this decade, the major US cigarette manufacturers admitted, to varying degrees, that smoking causes cancer and other diseases.

To examine how tobacco manufacturers have defended themselves against charges that their products caused cancer in plaintiffs in 34 personal injury lawsuits, all but one of which were litigated between the years 1986 and 2003.

Defence opening and closing statements, trial testimony, and depositions for these cases were obtained from the Tobacco Deposition and Trial Testimony Archive ( All available defence-related transcripts from these cases were reviewed and a content analysis was conducted to identify common themes in the defendants’ arguments.

After review of the transcripts, defendants’ arguments were grouped into seven categories: (1) there is no scientific proof that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer; (2) the plaintiff did not have lung cancer as claimed; (3) the plaintiff had a type of lung cancer not associated with cigarette smoking; (4) the plaintiff had cancer that may have been associated with cigarette smoking or smokeless tobacco use, but tobacco products were not to blame in this particular case; (5) the plaintiff had cancer that may have been associated with cigarette smoking, but the defendant’s cigarette brands were not to blame; (6) the defendant’s cigarettes (or smokeless tobacco) may have played a role in the plaintiff’s illness/death, but other risk factors were present that negate or mitigate the defendant’s responsibility; and (7) the defendant’s cigarettes may have been a factor in the plaintiff’s illness/death, but the plaintiff knew of the health risks and exercised free will in choosing to smoke and declining to quit. Use of the argument that smoking is not a proven cause of lung cancer declined in frequency during and after the period when tobacco companies began to publicly admit that smoking causes disease. Corresponding increases occurred over time in the use of other arguments (namely, presence of other risk factors and “free will”).

Despite the vast body of literature showing that cigarette smoking causes cancer, and despite tobacco companies’ recent admissions that smoking causes cancer, defendants used numerous arguments in these cases to deny that their products had caused cancer in plaintiffs. The cigarette companies, through their public admissions and courtroom arguments, seem to be saying, “Yes, smoking causes lung cancer, but not in people who sue us”.

S Milberger, RM Davis, CE Douglas, JK Beasley, D Burns, T Houston, and D Shopland

Authors’ affiliation:
ScD, Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Henry Ford Health System, One Ford Place, 5C, Detroit, MI 48202, USA

December, 2006|Archive|

New Type of Mouthwash Will Help Alleviate Pain for Head and Neck Cancer Patients

  • 12/3/2006
  • Milan, Italy
  • Daniela Alterio, M.D.
  • ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Feb. 1, 2006

Doctors in Italy are studying whether a new type of mouthwash will help alleviate pain for patients suffering from head and neck cancer who were treated with radiation therapy, according to a study published in the February 1, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Fifty patients, suffering from various forms of head and neck cancer and who received radiation therapy as part of their treatment, were observed during the course of their radiation treatment. Mucositis, or inflammation of the mucous membrane in the mouth, is the most common side effect for these patients yet no additional therapy has been identified that successfully reduces the pain. All of the patients experienced some level of pain related to their cancer treatment and this study sought to discover if a mouthwash made from the local anesthetic tetracaine was able to alleviate the discomfort associated with head and neck cancer and if there would be any negative side effects of the mouthwash. The doctors chose to concoct a tetracaine-based mouthwash instead of a lidocaine-based version because it was found to be four times more effective, worked faster and produced a prolonged relief.

The tetracaine was administered by a mouthwash approximately 30 minutes before and after meals, or roughly six times a day. Relief of oral pain was reported in 48 of the 50 patients. Sixteen patients reported that the mouthwash had an unpleasant taste or altered the taste of their food.

“Though our study is relatively small, we found that the tetracaine-based mouthwash reduced oral pain, without any relevant side effects, in a sizeable number of our studied patients. With more testing, this could become a more common way to treat this side effect,” said Daniela Alterio, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy. “Oral pain is one of the most common side effects of radiation therapy for head and neck cancers, so this is great news for patients undergoing that treatment.”

December, 2006|Archive|

Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Head and Neck Cancer

  • 12/3/2006
  • internet web article
  • staff

According to an article recently published in the Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, long-term use of aspirin may reduce the risk of developing head and neck cancer among some patients.

Head and neck cancer originates within the head or neck. The most common type of head and neck cancer is squamous cell, which refers to the type of cell where the cancer originated. Because head and neck cancer is often associated with a decline in quality of life due to side effects of standard therapies as well as with suboptimal outcomes once the cancer has spread from its site of origin, prevention of this cancer is an active area of research.

Researchers from the Roswell Cancer Park Institute in New York recently evaluated data among 529 patients who were diagnosed with and treated for head and neck cancer between 1982 and 1998. The data from these patients were compared to data from hospital patients who did not have head and neck cancer.

– The use of aspirin was associated with a 25% reduction in the risk of head and neck cancer.

– The risk of head and neck cancer was reduced further with frequent and prolonged use of aspirin.

– Individuals who were aspirin users and had moderate exposure to either smoking or alcohol demonstrated a 33% reduced risk of head and neck cancer.

– Individuals who were heavily exposed to either smoking or alcohol did not benefit from aspirin use.

– Women seemed to benefit more from aspirin use than men.

The researchers concluded that regular aspirin use may significantly reduce the risk of developing head and neck cancer, particularly among individuals who are not heavily exposed to smoking or alcohol. Furthermore, increased duration of aspirin use is associated with a greater reduction in the risk of head and neck cancer. Patients should always speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of taking aspirin.

Reference: Jayaprakash V, Rigual N, Moysich K, et al. Chemoprevention of Head and Neck Cancer with Aspirin. Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. 2006; 132:1231-1236.

December, 2006|Archive|