Robotic Surgery Is Useful Option for Oral Cancer

Source: Minimally invasive transoral robotic surgery (TORS), used alone or combined with adjuvant therapy, provides good functional and oncologic outcomes in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), new research suggests. The results were especially impressive in patients with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which is currently the most common cause of OPSCC in Europe and the United States. Eric J. Moore, MD, associate professor of Otolaryngology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and coauthors reviewed a prospective database of patients with previously untreated OPSCC arising in the tonsil or base of the tongue who underwent TORS at their institution during a recent 2-year period. In 2011, about 12,000 individuals in the United States were diagnosed with OPSCC, according to the authors. The most common sites are the tonsillar fossa and base of the tongue. Customarily, OPSCC has been treated with combined modality therapy, including open surgical resection through mandibulotomy, neck dissection, and adjuvant radiation therapy or combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy. TORS was later introduced to improve access to these tumors. Functional outcomes of the study included gastrostomy tube dependence and tracheostomy dependence. Oncologic outcomes included local, regional, and distant control and disease-specific and recurrence-free survival. Overall, 66 patients who underwent TORS as their primary treatment were followed for a minimum of 2 years. Sixty-four patients, or 97%, were able to tolerate an oral diet and maintain their nutritional needs before initiating adjuvant therapy at 4 weeks. Only 3 patients, or 4.5%, required long-term gastrostomy tube use, and [...]

2012-04-30T17:14:50-07:00April, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Exercise helps cancer patients

Source: Author: staff A small trial shows that rehabilitation therapy for head and neck cancer patients clearly improves their ability to swallow faster, something that's often damaged with the cancer treatment. Intense treatment for cancers of the head and neck often involves both chemotherapy and radiation. With many important muscles involved in the region, preventing the areas targeted by radiation from weakening can be avoided with swallowing exercises. The study compared a control group given no swallowing exercises to another group given the series of targeted rehabilitation therapy. It took nine months for the two groups to have equivalent ability, highlighting the importance of preserving muscle function prior to cancer treatment. Importantly, rehabilitation after cancer treatment can prevent some of the worst side effects, and allows patients to get back to their normal day to day life. The initial damage from cancer treatment was extensive, as both groups had equal ability immediately after cancer therapy. Yet the muscle function rebounded quickly in the rehabilitation group, as results at 3 and 6 months after treatment were improved as a result of the swallowing exercises. The group given exercises also rated themselves as more comfortable eating in public, an important qualifier in showing how well the exercises worked. "With improvements in swallowing function from post-treatment exercises, interest in the use of prophylactic swallowing exercises to prevent or minimize post-CRT swallowing dysfunction has grown" the authors write as background in the study. "Indeed, some cancer treatment centers recommend prophylactic swallowing exercises for [...]

New technique to synthesize boron-nitride nanotubes

Source: Author: Cameron Chai Researchers at the Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, Italy have used boron-nitride nanotubes (BNNT) to improve the effectiveness of the cancer treatment. Irreversible Electroporation involves putting holes in tumor cell walls. It is used to treat soft tissue tumors in cancers that are difficult to treat, such as head and neck, prostate, pancreas, kidney, lung and liver. The treatment is being offered and studied for effectiveness at many centers in the USA. Researchers belonging to the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, the National Institute of Aerospace and NASA's Langley Research Center provided the BNNTs. A hole of an appropriate size in a cancer cell wall may cause the cell to commit suicide. The chief scientist at BNNT, Michael W. Smith, offered BNNTs to the researchers in Italy. These high-quality BNNTs are flexible, long, and have a small diameter. They are crystalline and have minimal defects. The BNNTs were suspended in glycol-chitosan and then chopped into bits with sound waves. These bits were then put on human epithelial carcinoma (HeLa) cells. The amount of BNNTs that had the capacity to kill around 25% of the cancerous cells within a period of 24 hours was determined. Through an electroporation device, the researchers supplied electricity of 160 V to a solution which contained the particular amount of BNNTs. The HeLa cells were exposed to the solution. Further, unexposed cancer cells were also treated with the same amount of voltage. When the [...]

Survey reveals most are unaware of the causes and symptoms of mouth cancer

Source: Author: staff A survey has revealed that most people are unaware of the major risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer. The SimplyHealth Annual Dental Health Survey revealed that of the 11,785 adults surveyed, 70 percent were unaware of the symptoms of mouth cancer while only 3 percent knew that kissing could increase your risk of moth cancer as a result of exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV). A spokesperson for SimplyHealth said that most were aware that smoking and drinking increased the risk of oral cancer, but very few people were aware of the link between oral cancer and the HPV, a virus which is also responsible for some cases of cervical cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, some strains of HPV increase the risk of mouth cancer, which could explain why the disease is becoming more common in young people, as the virus is spread through physical contact. Dentist Michael Thomas said that it was important for people to be aware of the symptoms of mouth cancer, as well as the causes. As with most forms of cancer, the earlier mouth cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival. Only 28 percent of adults surveyed had discussed mouth cancer with their dentist and this is worrying, as dentists are in a prime position to spot the early warning signs and arrange further tests and treatment. The most common symptoms of mouth cancer include lumps or swellings in the mouth or throat, sores or ulcers [...]

Handheld probe shows promise for oral cancer detection

Source: Author: staff A team of American researchers have created a portable, miniature microscope in the hope of reducing the time taken to diagnose oral cancer. The probe, which is around 20 cm long and 1 cm wide at its tip, could be used by doctors to diagnose oral cancer in real-time or as a surgical guidance tool; dentists could also use it to screen for early-stage cancer cells. The probe has been presented today in IOP Publishing's Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, and has shown good agreement with images of oral cancers obtained using conventional, much slower techniques at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio, TX. Historically, the death rate associated with oral cancer is particularly high; not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Lead author of the study Dr John X J Zhang at the University of Texas at Austin said: "Today, that statement is still true, as there isn't a comprehensive programme in the US to opportunistically screen for the disease; without that, late stage discovery is more common." The probe uses a laser to illuminate areas of the sample and can view beneath the surface of tissue, creating full 3D images. It can also take a series of images and layer them on top of each other, much like the tiling of a mosaic, giving a large overall field-of-view. The key component of the probe is [...]

It’s Time to Stop Letting Congress Stomp on Nonprofit Advocacy Rights

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy Nonprofit organizations have fewer rights to speak out about important public-policy matters today than they did last year. The latest assault on advocacy came in a spending bill Congress approved to provide money to education, health, and human-service groups. These new restrictions on advocacy were passed as part of a coordinated campaign by conservatives to quash popular democracy. Unfortunately, as contrasted with past “defund the left” efforts, charity leaders didn’t find out about them in time to take action to prevent their passage. The challenges to nonprofit advocacy began more than three decades ago when the Heritage Foundation started making new restrictions a priority. This attack was pushed by the Reagan White House in the early 1980s, took the form of major Republican congressional legislative efforts in the mid-1990s, and has arisen in various forms since then. Some conservative lawmakers and Republican White House officials have tried to go so far as to limit what charities can do with private contributions; others have tried to restrict the types of activities that nonprofits can conduct with federal funds. Most of their efforts were stopped by groups whose missions were to serve as watchdogs to protect charities’ rights and the coalitions they organized. Nevertheless, conservatives succeeded in several attempts to chip away at nonprofit advocacy rights. For example, Congress voted to prohibit social-welfare organizations classified under Section 501(c)(4) from receiving federal grants if they lobby. Additionally, grantees of the Legal Services Corporation face greater restrictions on advocacy [...]

2012-04-27T10:42:00-07:00April, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Pig mucus effective at blocking viruses associated with cervical and oral cancer

Source: American Chemical Society Scientists are reporting that the mucus lining the stomachs of pigs could be a long-sought, abundant source of "mucins" being considered for use as broad-spectrum anti-viral agents to supplement baby formula and for use in personal hygiene and other consumer products to protect against a range of viral infections. Their study appears in ACS' journal Biomacromolecules. In the report, Katharina Ribbeck and colleagues point out that mucus, which coats the inside of the nose, mouth and vagina, is the immune system's first line of defense. The slimy secretion traps disease-causing microbes, ranging from influenza virus to HIV (which causes AIDS) before they can cause infection. That has led to consideration of mucin, the main component of mucus, for use as an anti-viral agent in a variety of products. However, existing sources of mucins, such as breast milk, cannot provide industrial-sized quantities. Large amounts of mucus exist in the lining of pigs' stomachs, and the authors set out to determine if pig mucus - already used as a component of artificial saliva to treat patients with "dry mouth," or xerostomia - has the same anti-viral activity. They found that pig mucus is effective at blocking a range of viruses, from strains of influenza to the human papilloma virus, which is associated with cervical and oral cancer. They report that pig mucins could be added to toothpastes, mouthwashes, wound ointments and genital lubricants to protect against viral infections. "We envision porcine gastric mucins to be promising antiviral components [...]

2012-04-26T17:17:40-07:00April, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Study: Oral cancers take financial toll

Source: April 26, 2012 -- The cost of treating individuals with oral, orapharyngeal, and salivary gland cancers is significant, particularly for patients who undergo all three forms of treatment, according to a new study by Delta Dental of Michigan's Research and Data Institute. And for many that is only the beginning of the financial impact of the disease. The project, which involved Thomson Reuters, Delta Dental of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, began in March 2010. It is the first retrospective data analysis of a large number of head and neck cancer patients in the U.S. analyzing direct and indirect costs and comparing those costs to a matched comparison group, according to the authors (Head Neck Onc, April 26, 2012). Using data from the 2004-2008 Thomson Reuters MarketScan Databases: Commercial Claims and Encounters Database, Medicare Supplemental and Coordination of Benefits Database, Medicaid Multi-State Database, and the Health Productivity and Management Database, the researchers retrospectively analyzed claims data of 6,812 OC/OP/SG patients with employer-sponsored health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. They found that, on average, total annual healthcare spending during the year following diagnosis was $79,151, compared with $7,419 in a group comprising similar patients without these cancers. They also found that the average cost of care almost doubled when patients received all three types of treatment: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Healthcare costs were higher for oral cancer patients with commercial insurance ($71,732, n = 3,918), Medicare ($35,890, n = 2,303), and [...]

2012-04-27T10:16:48-07:00April, 2012|OCF In The News, Oral Cancer News|

Debt Collector Is Faulted for Tough Tactics in Hospitals

Source: The New York Times Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside. This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country. The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined in hundreds of company documents released by the attorney general. And they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount. To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all, even using scripts like those in collection boiler rooms, according to the documents and employees interviewed by The New York Times. In some cases, the company’s workers had access to health information while persuading patients to pay overdue bills, possibly in violation of federal privacy laws, the documents indicate. The attorney general, Lori Swanson, also said that Accretive employees may have broken the law by not clearly identifying themselves as debt collectors. Accretive Health has contracts not only with two hospitals cited in Minnesota but also with some of the largest hospital systems in the country, including Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and Intermountain [...]

2012-04-25T13:13:36-07:00April, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

HPV Cancer Hits 8,000 Men, 18,000 Women a Year

Source: HPV cancer isn't just a female problem, new CDC figures show. Although HPV causes 18,000 cancers in women each year, it also causes 8,000 cancers in men, the CDC calculates. To get the figures, CDC researchers analyzed data collected from 2004 to 2008 in two large cancer registries. HPV, human papillomavirus, is the cause of nearly all cervical cancers. But that's obviously not the only cancer caused by this sexually transmitted virus. HPV also causes about two-thirds of mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancers, 93% of anal cancers, and more than a third of penile cancers. Men are four times more likely than women to get HPV mouth/throat cancer, while women are more likely than men to get HPV anal cancer. Clearly, HPV is not just a female problem. Yet it was only last year that one of the two FDA-approved HPV vaccines was recommended for teen boys. Gardasil was recommended for girls in 2006; Cervarix was recommended for girls in 2009. "HPV vaccines are important prevention tools to reduce the incidence of non-cervical cancers," the CDC notes in a report in the April 20 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "Transmission of HPV also can be reduced through condom use and limiting the number of sexual partners." HPV vaccines are most effective when given before people become sexually active. Yet in 2010, less than a third of teen girls had received all three doses of HPV vaccines. Numbers aren't yet available for boys. The slow uptake of the vaccine [...]

2012-04-25T11:21:53-07:00April, 2012|Oral Cancer News|
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