Penn study finds delayed side effects of head and neck cancer treatments go unreported

Source: Results reinforce need for improved 'survivorship care' to encourage patients to seek help for their symptoms CHICAGO – New data from an Internet-based study show that patients with head and neck cancers (HNC) may be at risk for significant late effects after their treatment, but they're unlikely to discuss these and other survivorship care issues with their doctors. The findings, from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, will be presented Monday, June 4, at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago. The research team says the study reinforces the need to improve survivorship care for patients as they complete their active treatment, better educate patients about late effects they may experience, and encourage them to report these problems to their healthcare providers so they can be addressed. Data from nearly 4,000 cancer survivors were gathered between April 2010 and October 2011 via patients who completed LIVESTRONG Care Plans via OncoLink, Penn Medicine's online cancer resource. Approximately four percent of those patients had been treated for a primary head or neck cancer. Of those, nearly 88 percent reported having undergone radiation, 73 percent surgery, and 67 percent chemotherapy. Many patients reported late effects such as difficulty swallowing/speaking (83 percent), decreased saliva production (88 percent), thyroid problems (33 percent), decreased neck mobility (60 percent), concerns regarding cognitive function (53 percent), or vision deficits. However, since results show that patients only discuss the survivorship care plans they created on the site [...]

2012-05-31T12:09:42-07:00May, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

The UK’s first robotic mouth cancer operation

Source: Author: staff Pioneering surgery which allows doctors to remove cancer in the mouth using a minimally invasive technique is now available at the Wellington Hospital. Traditionally, the only way to remove Squamous Cell Carcinoma – cancer of the oropharynx which encompasses the tonsils and base of the tongue – has been to split the jaw, take out the cancer and repair the neck with tissue from the forearm. This 10-hour procedure requires two surgical teams and often has complications. Patients are in hospital for at least three weeks and need months of rehabilitation to help them swallow and speak again. Because the treatment is so invasive, many doctors try to avoid it using chemotherapy and radiotherapy instead. However, surgery is often the best chance of a cure. The new one-hour technique called Transoral Robotic Surgery allows the cancer to be removed without splitting the jaw or taking tissue from other parts of the body. Instead, the tonsils are accessed through the mouth using a specially designed robotic machine. Developed in the US in 2009 and now approved by the American Food and Drug Administration and licensed for use in the UK, it uses the Da Vinci robot to access this difficult to reach area. It gives the surgeon greater precision, dexterity and accuracy while carrying out the procedure and the patient has no stitches. Infection rates are reduced which speeds up recovery rates, patients are in hospital for just a week and are able to swallow normally soon afterwards [...]

Advaxis recruiting for HPV+ head and neck cancer trial

Source: Author: Ross Bonander Advaxis is announcing the enrollment of patients into the REALISTIC Phase I/II trial sponsored by Cancer Research UK to evaluate ADXS-HPV for the treatment of HPV-positive head and neck cancer. HPV has been linked to as many as seventy percent of all head and neck cancers. ADXS-HPV is a next-generation immunotherapy that acts as a therapeutic vaccine and is being tested in trials against HPV-associated diseases, including cervical cancers. Cancer Research UK assumes all patient costs. Advaxis seeks to recruit 45 patients. The REALISTIC trial is being carried out at the Aintree Hospital at the University of Liverpool, the Royal Marsden Hospital at the University of London, and the Cardiff Hospital at the University of Wales. Qualified patients will have already received treatment for head and neck cancer, either surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of treatments. Head and neck cancers account for roughly three percent of all cancers in the US, according to the American Cancer Society. They are more commonly diagnosed in men than women, and while they are traditionally linked to smoking and to alcohol consumption, HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers are on the rise among white males under 50 years of age. "We are pleased to be working with an internationally-renowned oncology group to further expand the ADXS-HPV clinical development program to another HPV-associated tumor type," said Advaxis Chairman & CEO Thomas A. Moore. "Through this collaboration, we hope that our proprietary technology will be able to offer a new treatment option to [...]

Suicide Rates Among Oral Cancer Patients on the Rise

Source: May 23, 2012 -- Suicide rates among patients with oral cavity and oropharyngeal (OC/OP) cancer have increased significantly over the past three decades, particularly among male patients during the first year after diagnosis. As many as half of patients with head and neck cancer suffer from depression, among the highest of all oncology patients (Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology, June 2009 Vol. 7:6, pp. 397-403). However, despite documented high rates of depression and suicide among patients with head and neck cancer, studies examining suicide and other noncancer-related deaths in patients with OC/OP have not been published. Brian Hill, executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation, survived stage 4 bilateral cervical lymph node metastases from oropharyngeal cancer. This gap prompted researchers from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, New York Medical College, and Peking University to analyze 32,487 patients with OC/OP cancer using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry data for 1980-1984, 1990-1994, 2000-2003, and 2004-2007 (Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, January 2012, Vol. 138:1, pp. 25-32). They found that from 1980-1984 to 2004-2007, deaths from suicide increased by 406.2% (p = .01), while cardiovascular disease-related and pneumonia-related deaths decreased by 45.9% (p < .001) and 42.9% (p = .009), respectively. Risk factors for mortality included age (55-64), marital status, advanced tumor stage, and tumor location. The researchers also calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for suicide, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia and compared them with patient demographic and clinical characteristics. The risk of death from [...]

2012-05-24T10:21:11-07:00May, 2012|OCF In The News, Oral Cancer News|

The Dangers of Self Diagnosis via the Internet

Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Do you have a rash and a sore throat? A high fever? A splitting headache? Forget spending time and money on seeing a doctor - there is a plethora of internet sites that will help you diagnose your own illness for free. Simply answer a series of questions about your age, body measurements and symptoms and the internet will do the rest. The Australian Medical Association says it's seriously concerned with the increasing number of WA residents who are doing just that. Last year, a study found nearly 80 per cent of Australians get health information off the net, with almost half of those doing so to diagnose a medical condition. The AMA's Doctor Richard Chong says those statistics seem to reflect local trends in WA. "Every single day I see patients that have come to me after checking their symptoms on the internet," he said. "I accept that it's a part of life now due to the sheer number of people who're more familiar with the internet. "To be honest, most people who do it aren't harmed." "They rush in thinking they have something that's going to kill them when they're actually fine." Dr Chong is, however, concerned about people who don't go to their GP because their research has reassured them that nothing's wrong. "At least with the first group of people, we get to discuss their symptoms because they always come in," he said. "The people that don't are the ones [...]

2012-05-23T09:27:03-07:00May, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Vitamin B veggies cut risk of mouth cancer

Source: Author: staff Women who consume high volumes of folic acid found in vitamin B from vegetables and some fruits are less likely to suffer from mouth cancer. A sample of 87,000 nurses were followed for 30 years from 1976 by researchers from the Columbia University Medical Centre and Harvard School of Public Health. Women who drank a high volume of alcohol and had low folic acid intake were three times more likely to develop mouth cancer than those who drank high volumes of alcohol but had high volumes of folic acid in their diet. Alcohol is one of the major risk factors for mouth cancer and those who drink to excess are four times more likely to be diagnosed. This is the first time that folic acid intake has been shown to affect the risk of the disease. Alcohol leads to a reduction in folic acid metabolism by creating acetaldehyde which leads to a reduction of folic acid in the body. Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: 'Rates of mouth cancer in women have been increasing for many years as a result of changed social habits with more women smoking and drinking. 'This new research could offer a method to reduce this by looking at the folic acid intake and increasing fruit and vegetables containing folic acid in the diet. “In the past studies have tended to focus on males, as they are twice as likely to suffer from the disease. While [...]

Oral sex may cause more oral cancer than smoking in men, researchers say

Source: Author: Robert Langreth A virus spread by oral sex may cause more cases of throat cancer in men than smoking, a finding that spurred calls for a new large-scale test of a drug used against the infection. Researchers examined 271 throat-tumor samples collected over 20 years ending in 2004 and found that the percentage of oral cancer linked to the human papillomavirus, or HPV, surged to 72 percent from about 16 percent, according to a report released yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. By 2020, the virus-linked throat tumors -- which mostly affected men -- will become more common than HPV-caused cervical cancer, the report found. HPV is known for infecting genitals. The finding that it can spread to the throat and cause cancer may increase pressure on Merck & Co., the second-largest U.S. drugmaker, to conduct large-scale trials to see if its vaccine Gardasil, which wards off cervical cancer in women, also prevents HPV throat infections. “The burden of cancer caused by HPV is going to shift from women to men in this decade,” Maura Gillison, an oncologist at Ohio State University and study senior author, said in a telephone interview. “What we believe is happening is that the number of sexual partners and exposure to HPV has risen over that same time period.” Gillison said she worked with researchers at Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck several years ago to design a study in men. After Merck acquired Schering-Plough Corp. in 2009, though, the trial “was canceled,” [...]

Big Tobacco Spending More Than a Super PAC to Defeat Cancer Research

Source: My job requires me to be online all day keeping an ear to the ground on major issues related to cancer. I knew the Prop 29 fight in California was going to be fought against Big Tobacco, but I didn’t realize the scale of their funding machine. Why are LIVESTRONG, American Cancer Society, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and many other health organizations for this proposition? Because it keeps kids from smoking, funds much needed cancer research and prevention programs. So it won’t surprise you that Big Tobacco is the driving force against the cancer research prop. Although it is not surprising, the amount of money they are pumping into California is unreal. To date, Big Tobacco has funneled 40 million dollars into their anti cancer research initiative compared to Yes on 29 Coalition’s 8 million raised. What I find most telling is when it comes to where these funds are from. Check out this visualization from – a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics. This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

2012-05-17T09:52:34-07:00May, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Actor’s Diagnosis Puts Spotlight on Oral Cancer

Source: May 9, 2012 -- Actor Michael Douglas' recent revelation that he has stage IV oropharyngeal cancer has highlighted the growing incidence of oral cancer, and experts say dentists can help stem the alarming increase of the disease by checking for it during routine examinations. The actor's cancer includes a walnut-sized tumor at the base of his tongue, and he will require radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Douglas says his doctors told him he has an 80% survival rate if it hasn't spread to his lymph nodes. While tobacco was the prime cause of oral cancer in the past, recent studies have attributed the steady increase of the disease to the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are approximately 130 versions of HPV but only nine cause cancers, and the HPV16 version causes almost half of the oral cancers in the U.S., said Brian Hill, executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation. "Tobacco is no longer the only bad guy," he told “HPV16 is increasing in incidence as the causative etiology, and if it continues on this trend line, it will replace tobacco as the primary cause of oral cancers." Dentists can play a key role in catching the disease in its early stages if they check for it during examinations, Hill pointed out. "But many dentists think it's such a rare disease that they don't bother to screen for it," he said. "Most Americans have never even heard of oral cancer, but it's not as rare or uncommon as [...]

2012-05-17T09:43:19-07:00May, 2012|Oral Cancer News|
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