Oral cancer screening at Saratoga Race Course

Source: Liacars.com Author: Dave Detling The track is a place filled with tasty treats. It's a confectionary dream and dentist's worst nightmare. Joe Gayner is spending his Wednesday at the race course. But he's not sitting track side. He's on folding chair with a dentist hovering over him. With tools in hand, Gayner is being told to bite down and show a big grin. It is an odd sight, but Joe Gayner, along with a massive group of fans, is being screened for oral cancer. "That was the easiest checkup I've ever had," said Gayner. Doctor Robert Trager is a practicing dentist. He's been screening people at the track for the past five years. He says it's the perfect place for early detection. "You have a lot of people who come from all over the country, especially to Saratoga who haven't been to a dentist. And the ones who have don't even realize what oral cancer is," said Dr. Trager. It's recommended you see a dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and an oral cancer screening. But the last place people are expecting to find one is here at the Saratoga race track. "It seems a little silly actually. My daughter worried because I was a smoker years ago and she wanted me to have this cancer checked to make sure I'm clean," said Terry Rasmus. With a clean bill of health, most people screened are glad this free service is available. Damien Haas who works at [...]

Tobacco use in baseball on the decline

Source: Major League Baseball (mlb.com) Author: Mychael Urban Users remain, but rules, more awareness have made impact Baseball has taken a variety of steps to cleanse itself of the stain -- literal, cultural and medical -- of tobacco use, and there's plenty of empirical evidence showing that usage, while far from completely eradicated, has decreased over the past decade or so. "A lot of things started happening and people quit," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who went cold turkey on chewing tobacco 14 years ago at the request of his daughters. "It's definitely not as prevalent today as it once was. You don't see the big wad and guys spitting all over the place. "It's one of those things -- awareness. I think making people aware of the dangers has really changed it." Yet there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that there remain a number of players, coaches, managers and other club personnel who still sneak a smoke, a dip, a wad or a plug. And in what some see as another sign of progress, they are indeed sneaking. The suggestion, it appears, is that those who can't quite kick the habit have reached an unspoken compromise in the name of protecting future generations. Conceding that tobacco use is "down but not out," as one of several players told MLB.com, practitioners of our national pastime who continue to partake are hoping that an old adage proves helpful: Out of sight, out of mind. "I'd love to stand up in [...]

Evaluating Prognostic Techniques for Head and Neck Cancers Following Chemotherapy and Radiation: Presented at AHNS

Source: Doctor's Guide (www.docguide.com) Author: Arushi Sinha Ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration is a technique that has low specificity for diagnosis of head and neck cancers following chemotherapy and radiotherapy interventions, researchers reported here at the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) 7th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer. Lisa van der Putten, MD, Department of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands, presented research focused on optimising prognostic techniques for patients with head and neck cancers receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy. "This is one of the first studies to examine the effectiveness of prognostic techniques, like ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration, following chemoradiation for head and neck cancer," Dr. van der Putten explained during a presentation on July 20. Lymph node metastasis is one of the most significant prognostic factors for patients with head and neck carcinomas, so Dr. van der Putten and colleagues examined a variety of strategies for prognosis of these patients following chemotherapy and radiotherapy interventions. The objectives of their study were to evaluate the effectiveness of ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration and to determine some of the prognostic factors for outcomes following chemoradiation. Both modified radical neck dissection (MRND) and selective neck dissection (SND) are used as treatment methods for patients with head and neck carcinomas who are at high risk for metastatic cancer. The study team evaluated the effectiveness and safety of an observational approach to lymphadenopathy following these surgical interventions. The study followed outcomes of 61 patients who underwent salvage neck dissections for suspected [...]

Assessing Risk for Carotid Artery Occlusion Following Surgery for Head and Neck Tumours: Presented at AHNS

Source: Doctor's Guide (www.docguide.com) Author: Arushi Sinha Use of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) may be indicated to monitor patients after skull-based surgery for head and neck tumours, according to research presented here at the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) 7th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer. Balasubramanian Balaji, MBBS, Department of Surgical Oncology, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India, presented research results on July 20 on methods to monitor potential adverse effects on carotid artery functioning for patients undergoing head and neck tumour surgery. The study enrolled 20 patients undergoing surgery for a wide range of head and neck tumours: 7 patients with ear malignancies; 7 with tumours of the cranial nerves; 4 with parotid tumours; and 2 with salivary gland tumours. The carotid artery is often located in close proximity to skull-based tumours, so its functionality may be compromised following tumour resection. Therefore, these patients were evaluated for the presence of possible carotid artery occlusion subsequent to surgery. "We designed a stepwise study for carotid-artery occlusion based upon tolerance by the patients," Dr. Balaji explained. Patients were tested in stages for possible carotid-artery occlusion on the affected side using manual compression as the first step. If this was tolerated, a balloon catheter technique was used to look for signs of possible circulatory abnormalities. Following successful catheterisation, an additional SPECT scan using technetium-99 labelled ethylcysteinate dimer was performed to evaluate the severity and location of possible circulatory abnormalities. "We used the technetium-99 labelled [...]

Advexin Improves Survival in Head and Neck Cancer

Source: CancerConsultants.com Author: staff The targeted agent Advexin (p53 tumor suppressor therapy) improves survival compared with methotrexate among head and neck cancer patients with the p53 biomarkers. These results were recently presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Centennial Conference on Translational Cancer Medicine 2008: Cancer Clinical Trials and Personalized Medicine. Head and neck cancers originate in the oral cavity (lip, mouth, tongue), salivary glands, paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, pharynx (upper back part of the throat), larynx (voice box), and lymph nodes in the upper part of the neck. Worldwide, head and neck cancer is diagnosed in approximately 640,000 people annually and is responsible for approximately 350,000 deaths each year. Patients whose head and neck cancer has returned following prior therapy have suboptimal long-term outcomes with standard therapies and research continues to evaluate novel therapeutic approaches to improve these outcomes. The field of genetics is emerging as a potential therapeutic tool in the treatment of cancer. Although still in clinical trials, researchers are testing and exploring the use of genetic strategies for several types of cancer. Gene therapy, a type of treatment in the field of genetics, often involves the insertion of a functional, normal gene into a cell that has a dysfunctional gene that may cause or contribute to the growth of cancer. One gene, called the p53 gene, is of major focus in the evaluation of gene therapy since a significant portion of cancers have been shown to have a mutation (alteration) of this gene. The [...]

Oral cancer test’s value unproven

Source: Boston.com Author: Neil Munshi The usual dental checkup goes something like this: lean back, open wide, avoid flinching, rinse, spit. But in addition to looking for cavities, dentists are increasingly checking for oral cancer, too - and not just by peering and probing. A relatively new screening tool allows dentists to better gauge whether a patient is in the early stages of oral cancer by looking at the mouth under a special light. But the test may be overused, and it's not yet clear whether it justifies its price tag. A review of studies of the devices published in this month's Journal of the American Dental Association concluded that for low-risk patients, there is "insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of visually based examination" devices, such as the ViziLite. Still, roughly 10 to 15 percent of the 100,000 practicing dentists in the United States offer ViziLite or a similar scan, which some credit with helping them better identify lesions in the mouth than simply looking with the naked eye. "Frankly, I've seen stuff I would normally just have glossed over and it doesn't hurt to take a second look . . . at something that might not normally be looked at - that might save somebody's life," said Dr. Anjum A. Ansari, a downtown Boston dentist, who charges her patients $80 for the service. Insurance has only covered the scan for one of her patients, Ansari said. That $80 is the test's only actual advantage, said Dr. [...]

Has Cancer Spread? Research Identifies Best Way to Find Answers

Source: Newswise (www.newswise.com) Author: staff For patients with head and neck cancer, accurately determining how advanced the cancer is and detecting secondary cancers usually means undergoing numerous tests – until now. New Saint Louis University research has found that the PET-CT scanner can be used as a stand-alone tool to detect secondary cancers, which occur in 5 to 10 percent of head and neck cancer patients. The study findings, which will be presented on Tuesday, July 22 at the 7th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer in San Francisco, Calif., will streamline care for head and neck cancer patients allowing them to begin treatment earlier, says Michael Odell, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “There has been a lot of confusion about the best ways to evaluate head and neck cancer patients to see if their cancer has spread,” said Odell, the study’s primary author. “Traditionally, doctors used many different tests, such as chest X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, bone scans and blood work. Patients went through too many unnecessary procedures because there was no real consensus on the best way to evaluate them.” According to Odell, when choosing the appropriate treatment plan for head and neck cancer patients, it is critical to accurately stage the primary cancer and detect secondary cancers. Odell’s research shows PET-CT scanning can replace all the other traditional tests. Using the PET-CT scanner is not just a time saver, though; it also can be a life-saver. “We all know [...]

Smile — Benefits Improve

Source: Wall Street Journal (online.wsj.com) Author: M.P. McQueen At a time when workers are shouldering an ever-greater share of health-insurance costs, some insurers surprisingly are increasing benefits in dental plans. A growing number of plans are rewarding patients who get regular preventive care by allowing them a higher maximum yearly allowance. More plans are paying for services that were formerly excluded, including tooth bleaching and dental implants to replace missing teeth. And more plans also are covering additional cleanings or gum treatments for patients who are pregnant or have chronic health conditions. The new features are showing up in employer-provided group plans and some are finding their way even into individual plans. A Way to Fight Disease Experts say the enhanced preventive care is aimed at reducing overall employer health costs by reducing the prevalence of serious disease. A growing number of studies have linked gum disease to such conditions as pre-term births, diabetes and heart disease, although the relationship is not always well understood by science. (All dental plans aren't available in all areas, however, and some of the new features are included only if an employer chooses to offer them.) Delta Dental of California, New York and Pennsylvania and Affiliates, one of the largest dental plans in the U.S., recently introduced a plan that doesn't count diagnostic and preventive care toward the annual maximum. That enables patients to conserve more of their annual benefits allowance, usually capped at $1,500 to $2,500, for such big expenses as bridges and [...]

Quality of life in patients treated for cancer of the oral cavity requiring reconstruction: a prospective study

Source: Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital, June 1, 2008; 28(3): 120-5 Authors: AB Villaret et al. Surgical treatment for cancer of the oral cavity can result in dramatic aesthetic and functional sequelae partially avoidable by reconstructive techniques. Many studies concerning quality of life have been carried out in order to retrospectively assess outcomes after such major oncological procedures. Aim of this study was to evaluate, in a prospective fashion, the quality of life as a primary endpoint in patients treated for cancers involving the oral cavity and requiring reconstruction. The study design consisted of a prospective evaluation of pre- and post-operative quality of life at 3, 6, and 12 months to assess variations during follow-up using two different questionnaires: the University of Washington Quality of Life and the Head and Neck Performance Status Scale. Between May 1999 and October 2004, 92 patients with oral cancer requiring reconstruction were treated. All were included in the study, but only 35 (38%) concluded the evaluation protocol at one year after surgery without evidence of disease. The mean pre- and post-operative (3, 6, and 12 months) scores of the questionnaires and the scores of specific University of Washington Quality of Life categories (disfigurement, chewing, swallowing, comprehension of speech) were evaluated. The impact on residual quality of life of different factors such as gender, extension of tongue and mandibular defects, type of reconstruction, and radiotherapy was statistically quantified with a Wilcoxon non-parametric test and logistic regression for multivariate analysis. Comparison of mean pre- and post-operative scores between [...]

Cancer nurse takes on a special role

Source: ChronicleLive (www.chroniclelive.co.uk) Author: Helen Rae A head and neck cancer nurse specialist has been appointed to offer expertise to those living with cancer in the region. Macmillan Cancer Support has employed new head and neck cancer nurse specialist, Laura Gradwell-Nelson, based at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. Laura, 28, of New York, North Shields, will work alongside existing Macmillan head and neck nurse specialist Amanda Dear and will see patients throughout Tyneside and Northumberland. Laura said: “We have a fantastic team working with head and neck patients in the area and I’m delighted to be part of it. “I work with patients who may have lost the ability to speak, eat, drink or even breathe. Some have to deal with facial disfigurement after surgery. “These are complex cases and my job is to try and make life as easy as I can for the patient and their family in what can be an incredibly stressful and frightening time. I try and build a relationship up with the patient because I feel being on the same level is crucial to helping them deal with their cancer. “Amanda and I coordinate the patient’s medical care, such as pain control and managing side effects. “We also spend time listening to their concerns, talking through their options and generally being a point of contact when they need help, advice or are worried about anything. “I also point them to the Macmillan benefits advisers if they need financial help. Throughout my career I’ve always had an [...]

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