Chewing tobacco: Not a risk-free alternative to cigarettes

10/31/2007 Rochester, MN staff Get the facts about chewing tobacco. It's more harmful and addictive than you might think. You can call it what you want — smokeless tobacco, spit tobacco, snus, chew, snuff, pinch, plug or dip — but don't call it harmless. If you're considering making the switch from cigarettes to chewing tobacco because you think the smokeless version of tobacco won't hurt you, be forewarned — chewing tobacco also causes serious health problems. Find out why chewing tobacco is not a healthy option. Chewing tobacco: Just one form of smokeless tobacco Smokeless tobacco products consist of tobacco or a tobacco blend that's chewed, inhaled or sucked on rather than smoked. It's available in three main forms: - Chewing tobacco. This type of smokeless tobacco comes in loose leaf, plugs or twists. As the name suggests, it's chewed. - Snuff. This product is available dry or moist, in loose leaf or in pouches that look like small tea bags. A pinch of snuff may be placed between the cheek and the gum or inhaled into the nostrils. - Betel quid. A product of India, Africa and Asia, betel quid is produced commercially or made at home. It consists of a dried paste that often includes tobacco, areca nuts, catechu, and scent or flavoring. Catechu is a plant-based product used to treat diarrhea and sometimes used for birth control in some parts of the world. Areca nuts are a plant-based product often used as a recreational drug. Betel [...]

2009-04-16T09:11:06-07:00October, 2007|Archive|

Improving Head and Neck Cancer Survival

10/31/2007 Orlando, FL Kate McHugh, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent Head and neck cancers affect more than 40,000 people in the United States every year and more than 500,000 worldwide. When caught early, the prognosis is promising, but survival rates decrease as the disease advances. Now, two treatment therapies are making a big difference in the survival of patients suffering from advanced head and neck cancers. Standard initial treatment for advanced head and neck cancers is chemotherapy. Two new studies show promising results with treatments following chemo. “I think that patients get very scared when they get this diagnosis, frightened and anxious. I think they should recognize that we are now clearly above the 50-percent [survival] level -- quite a bit above it,” Marshall Posner, M.D., medical director of the Head and Neck Oncology Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, told Ivanhoe. In a recent study out of Europe, researchers found a combination therapy treatment, known as TPF -- adding docetaxel to the standard PF therapy (cisplatin and fluorouracil) -- improved survival outcomes by 27 percent in patients with an unresectable cancer -- tumors that cannot be removed. “What the European trial demonstrates is that TPF is a reasonable therapy for patients with an unresectable disease and promotes an improvement in survival,” said Dr. Posner, the lead author of another new study, which reveals using the TPF therapy after chemotherapy and following with chemoradiotherapy -- a combination of chemotherapy with radiation therapy -- gives patients a 30-percent reduction in [...]

2009-04-16T09:10:40-07:00October, 2007|Archive|

Vaccine Treatment Takes Aim At Oral Cancer

10/29/2007 web-based article Hilary Waldman Promising New Drug Was Originally Designed To Fight Cervical Cancer A new cervical cancer vaccine headed for FDA approval this month could also put a dent in new cases of oral cancer - one of the deadliest cancers in the United States. At least one-quarter of oral cancer cases may be linked to human papillomavirus, the same sexually transmitted bug that causes cervical cancer. "Because of this vaccine, in 10 to 15 years, we're going to find many fewer head and neck cancers, it will have a positive collateral benefit not related to its primary cervical cancer use." said Brian Hill, founder and executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation. Researchers started looking for new possible causes of oral cancer when tobacco use dropped precipitously in the United States but the incidence of oral cancer did not. About 34,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States this year, and only half of them will be alive in five years. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that for cancer of the cervix, testicles, skin (melanoma), Hodgkins disease, a type of blood cancer and other we commonly hear about. Six years ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine looked at 253 patients with head and neck tumors and found HPV-16 - the tumor-causing strain of the virus - in 25 percent of those patients. HPV-positive tumors are most likely to occur in the throat, base of the tongue, [...]

2008-07-09T20:39:36-07:00October, 2007|OCF In The News|

A New Job for Bill Clinton

10/29/2007 web-based article Cliff Kincaid Accuracy in Media ( My commentary on the need for Bill Clinton to take the lead in warning teenagers about the dangers of oral sex caught the eye of Brian R. Hill, the founder/ Executive Director of the Oral Cancer Foundation, Inc. He is a stage IV oral cancer survivor. On the matter of a link between HPV 16, a sexually transmitted virus, and cancer, especially oral cancer, he writes: "The real data about this has been mostly published by Maura Gillison at Johns Hopkins, and the correlation between HPV 16 in particular and oropharangeal and tonsillar cancers is without doubt, ditto the oral sex /oral cancer issue. There is no doubt that the HPV's forms which have cancer causing capabilities are on the rise, and the number of young, non-smoking, oral cancer patients has risen dramatically in recent years. While the primary cause, tobacco, has had its use steadily decline for more than 10 years in the U.S., the incidence rate of oral cancer has stayed the same. This would indicate that a new etiology is replacing the old stereotypical mechanism of getting this very deadly disease. "While you mention a Swedish study, the U.S. is way ahead of others in the peer-reviewed research that shows all this to be a major issue…Though the issue of awareness is critical, and Dr. Gillison even uses the word epidemic when she discusses HPV in the U.S., it is hard to get people of celebrity and power [...]

2008-07-09T20:37:58-07:00October, 2007|OCF In The News|

Dentistry: Checking for Oral Cancer

10/29/2007 Washington, D.C. Sherri Dalphonse Washingtonian ( While the number of oral-cancer cases diagnosed annually—about 30,000 in this country—has remained steady, the victims have changed. There’s been a fivefold increase in oral cancer in people under age 40, particularly women. And while smoking and drinking are still the biggest risk factors, one-quarter of all patients are not smokers. A study by Johns Hopkins University found human papillomavirus in one-fourth of oral-cancer patients. The rise in HPV and oral sex has been linked to oral cancer in young women. “One problem,” says Brian Hill, director of the Oral Cancer Foundation and an oral-cancer survivor, “is that dentists are still looking for the stereotypical smoker” when screening for cancer. How do you know if your dentist does a thorough check for oral cancer? In an exam, Hill says, a dentist should pull out the tongue for a good look—many cancers occur at the base of the tongue qwhich can more easily be seen when pulled forward—and run a finger along the edges to feel for lumps. He or she should feel the floor of the mouth and the sides of the neck. When oral cancer is caught early, there’s an 80-percent survival rate. Because it is usually caught late, half of such patients die within five years. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation (, symptoms include • a sore or lesion in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks. • a lump or thickening in the cheek. • a white [...]

2008-07-09T20:36:42-07:00October, 2007|OCF In The News|

Gene Chip Enables Personalized Cancer Treatment

10/29/2007 Jerusalem, Israel staff The Future of Things ( An oncologist from Michigan has devised a new approach to clinical medicine. Using DNA micro-array chips, Dr. Eric Lester analyzed gene expression profiles of tumors in patients with advanced incurable cancer. For each patient, he first identified certain genes associated with a favorable response to anti-cancer drugs, and then determined an individualized treatment plan according to these findings. New, targeted cancer therapies focus on specific genetic mutations in the patient's body in order to fight the disease. These therapies usually also have fewer side-effects than conventional chemotherapy. However, cancer is a complex, dynamic and unpredictable disease with a wide array of embodiments at the molecular level. For this reason, no single treatment is effective against every type of tumor. In order to effectively treat cancer we need to understand the biological mechanisms behind it. Since every cancer tumor is unique, doctors struggle to find the most suitable personalized treatment plan for each patient. Currently, they rely mostly on their instincts and personal experience to choose the appropriate treatment methods. Dr. Eric Lester, of the Oncology Care Associates in St. Joseph, Michigan, devised an experiment that illustrates the promise of personalized medicine. He had six patients with advanced, incurable cancer. In order to determine which anti-cancer drugs would benefit each patient, Lester analyzed his patients' tumors, seeking the expression of genes associated with responsiveness to various anti-cancer drugs. He then based his drug treatment plans on the experiment's findings. To analyze gene [...]

2009-04-16T09:10:15-07:00October, 2007|Archive|

Cisplatin, Fluorouracil, and Docetaxel in Unresectable Head and Neck Cancer

10/29/2007 web-based article Jan B. Vermorken et al New England Journal of Medicine ( Background: Phase 2 studies suggest that the standard regimen of cisplatin and fluorouracil (PF) plus docetaxel (TPF) improves outcomes in squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck. We compared TPF with PF as induction chemotherapy in patients with locoregionally advanced, unresectable disease. Methods: We randomly assigned eligible patients between the ages of 18 and 70 years who had stage III or stage IV disease and no distant metastases to receive either TPF (docetaxel and cisplatin, day 1; fluorouracil by continuous infusion, days 1 to 5) or PF every 3 weeks for four cycles. Patients without progression of disease received radiotherapy within 4 to 7 weeks after completing chemotherapy. The primary end point was progression-free survival. Results: A total of 358 patients underwent randomization, with 177 assigned to the TPF group and 181 to the PF group. At a median follow-up of 32.5 months, the median progression-free survival was 11.0 months in the TPF group and 8.2 months in the PF group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death in the TPF group, 0.72; P=0.007). Treatment with TPF resulted in a reduction in the risk of death of 27% (P=0.02), with a median overall survival of 18.8 months, as compared with 14.5 months in the PF group. There were more grade 3 or 4 events of leukopenia and neutropenia in the TPF group and more grade 3 or 4 events of thrombocytopenia, nausea, vomiting, stomatitis, and hearing [...]

2009-04-16T09:09:50-07:00October, 2007|Archive|

Gold Nanorods Shed Light On New Approach To Fighting Cancer

10/29/2007 West Lafayette, IN staff Biocompare Life Science News ( Researchers have shown how tiny "nanorods" of gold can be triggered by a laser beam to blast holes in the membranes of tumor cells, setting in motion a complex biochemical mechanism that leads to a tumor cell's self-destruction. Tumor cell membranes often have an abnormally high number of receptor sites to capture molecules of folic acid, or folate, a form of vitamin B that many tumor cells crave. The Purdue researchers attached folate to the gold nanorods, enabling them to target the receptors and attach to the tumor cell membranes. "The cells are then illuminated with light in the near-infrared range," said Ji-Xin Cheng (pronounced Gee-Shin), an assistant professor in Purdue's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. "This light can easily pass through tissue but is absorbed by the nanorods and converted rapidly into heat, leading to miniature explosions on the cell surface." Scientists have recently determined that gold nanorods and other nanostructures can be used to target and destroy tumor cells, but it was generally assumed that cell death was due to the high heat produced by the light-absorbing nanoparticles. The Purdue team discovered, however, that a more complex biochemical scenario is responsible for killing the cells. "We have found that rather than cooking the cells to death, the nanorods first punch holes in the membrane, and cell death is then chemically induced, in this case by an influx of calcium," said Alexander Wei, an associate professor of chemistry at [...]

2009-04-16T09:09:15-07:00October, 2007|Archive|

Three Chemo Drugs Better Than Two for Advanced Head-Neck Cancers

10/29/2007 Serena Gordon The addition of the chemotherapy drug, docetaxel, to the standard two-drug regimen used for head and neck cancers improved the efficacy of the treatment while reducing the toxicity, two new studies report. The triple drug chemotherapy regimen was so effective that it increased survival in both studies and more than doubled the average overall survival in one of the studies. "This is a study that demonstrates that a three-drug regimen is better by a substantial amount in terms of survival for head and neck cancer. There was a 30 percent reduction in mortality with less toxicity," said Dr. Marshall R. Posner, lead author of the first study and medical director of the head and neck oncology program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "This is a wonderful step forward for patients." Results from both clinical trials are published in the Oct. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Both studies were funded, at least partially, by Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of docetaxel. About 3 percent to 5 percent of all cancers in the United States are head and neck cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. That means almost 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with these cancers each year. They most commonly occur in people over 50, and the biggest risk factor for head and neck cancers is tobacco use. Treatment for these cancers can be difficult, because surgical removal of tumors can affect the way a person chews, talks and swallows. In some cases, [...]

2009-04-16T09:08:54-07:00October, 2007|Archive|

Integrated approach to IMRT provides quality care for head and neck cancer patients

10/29/2007 Los Angeles, CA press release EurekAlert! ( Results from a University of Pittsburgh study demonstrate that intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for head and neck cancer can be uniformly delivered in a large health care system of academic and community cancer centers through a centralized planning and treatment process. The findings were presented today at the 49th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) in Los Angeles. “Our study demonstrates that it is feasible for head and neck cancer patients to receive IMRT in their own communities without sacrificing high-quality care,” said Dwight Heron, M.D., associate professor of radiation oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of radiation oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). “This is possible through an integrated network in which treatment is standardized across all cancer centers.” According to study results, there were no significant differences in toxicity profiles and treatment outcomes in 604 head and neck cancer patients treated with IMRT at 12 community cancer centers and one academic flagship facility. Two hundred and forty-eight patients (41 percent) were treated at the flagship facility, and 356 patients (59 percent) received IMRT at one of the community centers. All 13 centers, connected through a telemedicine network, followed the same clinical pathway guidelines for the radiotherapy management of head and neck cancer, which included specific details on volumes for radiation treatment planning and recommended doses of IMRT. When the investigators compared outcomes between the academic center and the community centers, [...]

2009-04-16T09:08:22-07:00October, 2007|Archive|
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