Robot-assisted surgery feasible for head and neck cancer

Source: Author: Roxanne Nelson Robot-assisted surgery appears feasible for resection of select upper aerodigestive tract tumors, according to a study published in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery. Researchers found that the surgical robot had several advantages over traditional endoscopic and open approaches, such as 3-dimensional visualization, tremor filtration, and greater freedom of instrument movement. "Robotic surgery in head and neck patients is still considered investigational," said senior author William Carroll, MD, associate professor of surgery and otolaryngology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. "The procedure is under consideration by the [US Food and Drug Administration] for an approved indication." The key message from this study is that this technology could prove useful for the surgical management of select patients with head and neck cancers. "We hope to see similar or improved cure rates with fewer side effects and quicker return to function," he told Medscape Oncology. Since they were introduced a decade ago, robot-assisted surgeries have become widely accepted in the United States, especially for cardiac, gynecologic, and urologic procedures. The authors note that in 2007, about 60% of all radical prostatectomies were performed with robot assistance, and that robot-assisted cardiac and urological procedures can result in less blood loss and fewer complications than standard open approaches. In addition, the use of robots in cardiac surgery has had a favorable effect on operative time, length of stay in intensive care units, and length of overall inpatient care days, compared with open [...]

AACR show report: Dentists balk at cancer screenings

Source: Author: Barbara Boughton SAN DIEGO -- Dentists don't want to spend time screening patients for oral cancer because they're not sure how to do it properly -- or how to make money from it, researchers said at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting here. The researchers, from Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program in Canada, collected four months of data from pilot cancer screening projects at 10 dental offices in Vancouver, then queried dental staff in focus groups. "The idea was to raise public awareness, and remind dentists and their staff about how easy an oral cancer exam can be," said study author Denise Laronde, a dental hygienist and doctoral candidate at Simon Fraser University. Earlier research has suggested that dentists could save lives with oral cancer screenings. In a British Columbia study, 70 percent of oral cancer patients who had regular dental office visits were diagnosed at an early stage (stage I or II), while only 40 percent of those who did not have regular dental visits were diagnosed at an early stage, the researchers said. Oral cancer screening is a quick and painless procedure, yet fewer than 30 percent of people surveyed report being screened, the researchers added. In the current study, dental personnel were taught to use a novel screening device that uses loss of autofluorescence to identify potential areas of concern in the oral mucosa. Dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants participated in a one-day workshop on [...]

2009-05-08T18:40:34-07:00April, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

New diagnostic advance seen for head, throat cancer

Source: Author: staff Pharmacy researchers at Oregon State University today announced the discovery of a genetic regulator that is expressed at higher levels in the most aggressive types of head and neck cancers, in work that may help to identify them earlier or even offer a new therapy at some point in the future. This "transcriptional regulator" is called CTIP2, and in recent research has been demonstrated to be a master regulator that has important roles in many biological functions, ranging from the proper development of enamel on teeth to skin formation and the possible treatment of eczema or psoriasis. In the newest study, published April 28 in PLoS One, scientists found for the first time that levels of CTIP2 were more than five times higher in the "poorly differentiated" tumor cells that caused the most deadly types of squamous cell carcinomas in the larynx, throat, tongue and other parts of the head. There was a high correlation between greater CTIP2 expression and the aggressive nature of the cancer. Head and neck squamous cell cancers are the sixth most common cancers in the world, the researchers said in their study, and a significant cause of mortality. In 2008, cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx alone accounted for 35,310 new cases in the United States and 7,590 deaths. They have been linked to such things as tobacco use and alcohol consumption. "Serious head and throat cancer is pretty common, and mortality rates from it haven't improved much in 20 [...]

Experimental drug shows promise against head and neck cancer

Source: Author: press release A laboratory study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University suggests that an anti-cancer compound studied for treating blood cancers may also help in treating cancers of the head and neck. The work is reported in the April 28th online edition of the Journal of Pathology. Head and neck cancer refers to tumors in the mouth, throat, or larynx (voice box). Each year about 40,000 men and women develop head and neck cancer in the U.S., making it the country's sixth-most common type. Surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation are the main treatment options but can cause serious side effects. Better treatments are needed, since only about half of patients with head and neck cancer survive for five or more years after diagnosis. The Einstein study involved a new class of chemotherapy agents known as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, which affect the availability of genes that are transcribed and translated into proteins. In many types of cancer, out-of-control cell growth results from certain genes that are either too active or not active enough in producing proteins. HDAC inhibitors appear to combat cancer by restoring the normal expression of key regulatory genes that control cell growth and survival. The Einstein researchers focused on a particular HDAC inhibitor known as LBH589 that has already shown some success in clinical trials involving people with cancers of the blood. The researchers found that LBH589 succeeded in killing tumor cells that had been removed from head and neck [...]

Spit tobacco is not a quit-smoking solution

Source: Author: Tead Eaves What do you think? Dr. Brad Rodu recommends spit tobacco use as a method to help with smoking cessation ("Smokers need the facts on alternatives," Ideas, April 19). This strategy, known as harm reduction, encourages spit tobacco as an alternative to cigarettes because of lower risks for severe health consequences. Although smoking cessation is very important, spit tobacco is not a safe alternative. There are numerous diseases and illnesses that have been scientifically linked to spit tobacco, including gingivitis, tooth decay, cardiovascular disease and oral, esophageal, pharyngeal, laryngeal, stomach and pancreatic cancer. The most dangerous of these health issues is oral cancer, which has a mortality rate of 54 percent within five years of diagnosis. The risk for developing oral cancer from spit tobacco has been found to be 14 times greater than the risk in nonusers. Besides the health risks associated with the use of spit tobacco, there are other concerns with harm reduction. There could be an increase in use among adolescents who think "smokeless is harmless" when it comes to spit tobacco, an overall increase in the use of tobacco by nonusers, and an increase in sales of high-nicotine products that raise the risk for addiction. In his research, Dr. Rodu has often discussed the effectiveness of harm-reduction programs in Sweden. While Swedish studies have indeed demonstrated decreased smoking levels through the use of spit tobacco, there are several differences between the two countries that make it difficult to compare the United [...]

2009-04-27T16:40:12-07:00April, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

Too Hot for Teacher?

Calendar raises money and eyebrows Source: Fox 35 News Author: Holly Bristow COCOA BEACH, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - On campus, he teaches math at Cocoa Beach Junior/Senior High. Off campus, he’s known in some circles as “Mr. August.”  Patrick Kile is the driving force behind a calendar which features fellow teachers – some scantily-clad – all for a charity project. Money raised from calendar sales goes to cancer research. It’s a fundraiser for his “Relay for Life” team and all profits are going to the the American Cancer Society, but do students really need to see skin from their teachers? While it’s getting some good reviews, shots like Mr. June (pictured) are making some waves, as six of the teachers are shirtless. “Coach Mortar coaches wrestling and works with weightlifting,” said Kile. “He also teaches history.” “They're teachers! You've got young impressionable teenage girls,” said one parent “They don't need that. They need role models, not sexy muscles.” Kile, 33, teaches Geometry and helps coach Girl’s Soccer. “We just wanted something ‘outside the box,’ unique and fun and different, that would help open some eyeballs and raise some money,” said Kile, who is a cancer survivor himself.  “Back in 2005, I was diagnosed with tongue cancer that spread to my neck.” Now that he's in remission, Kile is trying to help other cancer victims.  “It’s for a good cause. I went to the school board and spoke with the ethics director of human resources and he thought [...]

2009-04-28T09:17:06-07:00April, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

The oral cancer battle

Source: Author: Beth Dunham As people look for ways to cut corners and save money in this time of economic uncertainty, healthcare sometimes takes a back seat to other expenses — putting lives at risk. A visit to the dentist is crucial and could mean the difference between life and death; someone in the United States dies of oral cancer nearly every hour, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Early detection is crucial in the fight against oral cancer, an aggressive, deadly disease that hasn’t seen the same improvements in survival rates as other cancers, said Parish Sedghizadeh of the USC School of Dentistry. “Oral cancer has one of the highest mortality rates among cancers,” said Sedghizadeh, assistant professor of clinical dentistry at USC. “It’s usually not noticed until the later stages, when a recovery is less likely. People have heard of oral cancer, but they don’t know what it looks like.” The disease rarely causes pain or other noticeable symptoms until it reaches a very advanced stage, he said. And while many people stay vigilant for the symptoms of more common cancers, dental care access challenges and a lack of oral cancer education means that most patients don’t know the early signs of oral cancer. “Oral cancer will often start as a small red or white plaque or sore that doesn’t go away with time, unlike other normal mouth, tongue, or lip sores that usually heal within a week or so,” Sedghizadeh said. Even if the disease is [...]

Diet, nutrition, and cancer — don’t trust any single study

Source: American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 100th Annual Meeting Author: Zosia Chustecka Numerous studies on diet and cancer were presented here at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 100th Annual Meeting, but several of the findings that were highlighted in AACR press releases — and thus are likely to be picked up by the lay media — run counter to the accumulated body of evidence, and some of the comments based on these studies are untrue or premature. So said Walter Willet, MD, DrPH, from the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts, in an exclusive interview with Medscape Oncology. "No conclusions should be made on the basis of a single study," he said. Dr. Willett presented an overview entitled "Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer: The Search for Truth," in which he reviewed many of the associations that have been suggested by epidemiologic studies. These include consumption of red meat, meat cooked at a high temperature, a high-fat diet, and alcohol all increasing the risk, and fruit and vegetables decreasing the risk. However, much of the evidence for these links is rather weak, he said; the most robust evidence supports a link between obesity and an increased risk for cancer. "The estimate that diet contributes to around 30% to 35% of cancers is still reasonable," Dr. Willet said, "but much of this is related to being overweight and inactive." "At this point in time, being overweight is second only to smoking as a clear [...]

House bill curbs advertising, increases taxes on smokeless tobacco

Source: The Clackamas Review Author: News Team A vending display for Snus, a smokeless, spitless tobacco Camel first marketed in Portland and Austin, Texas. A new house bill would limit advertising for such products while increasing taxes on them. JIM CLARK / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP The bill also bans the practice of handing out samples The Oregon House today passed a bill that would require all smokeless tobacco products to adhere to federally mandated marketing restrictions placed on older existing brands in an effort to curb youth advertising campaigns. The legislation would also increase the tax on such products. The bill, co-sponsored by House Speaker Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, came about partially as a response to the proliferation of smokeless tobacco products critics said targeted young customers. In 2006, Camel used the Portland region and Austin, Texas as test markets for its Snus smokeless tobacco. Smoking cessation advocates cried foul, saying the colorful ads with their rhyming slogans were designed to attract young people. The bill also prevents companies from handing out free samples of smokeless tobacco, something Rep. Carloyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie, said was happening everywhere from the streets of Portland to rodeos and fairs in eastern Oregon, particularly since Washington already has a ban. She introduced a similar bill earlier this year. “Oregon has become the place where they have campaigns for smokeless tobacco,” she said. “They’re handing out free Snus samples, and to whom did they hand it out? Not people my age; it’s the young ones.” The bill would [...]

2009-04-23T12:49:25-07:00April, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

Cancer risk of nicotine gum and lozenges higher than thought

Source: Author: Mark Henderson Nicotine chewing gum, lozenges and inhalers designed to help people to give up smoking may have the potential to cause cancer, research has suggested. Scientists have discovered a link between mouth cancer and exposure to nicotine, which may indicate that using oral nicotine replacement therapies for long periods could contribute to a raised risk of the disease. A study funded by the Medical Research Council, led by Muy-Teck Teh, of Queen Mary, University of London, has found that the effects of a genetic mutation that is common in mouth cancer can be worsened by nicotine in the levels that are typically found in smoking cessation products. The results raise the prospect that nicotine, the addictive chemical in tobacco, may be more carcinogenic than had previously been appreciated. “Although we acknowledge the importance of encouraging people to quit smoking, our research suggests nicotine found in lozenges and chewing gums may increase the risk of mouth cancer,” Dr Teh said. “Smoking is of course far more dangerous, and people who are using nicotine replacement to give up should continue to use it and consult their general practitioners if they are concerned. The important message is not to overuse it, and to follow advice on the packet.” Most nicotine replacement products have labels advising people to cut down after three months of use and to stop completely after six months. Mouth cancer affects nearly 5,000 people each year in Britain and is usually linked to smoking, chewing tobacco [...]

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