BY PATTI DIGANGI, RDH, BS Even with our best efforts, oral cancer continues to have a nearly 50% mortality rate at five years. This equals 40,000 deaths annually in the United States with 370,000 worldwide. It is predicted that there will be a world-wide oral cancer epidemic by mid-21st century. Predictions are based on what has been and current situations. The wonderful part of predictions is they can be wrong. Two people, Alison Stahl and Eric Statler, are leading the way to circumvent that future death rate. They challenge all of us across the country not to be reactive — but rather to be proactive in our approach. Volunteers welcome participants to the oral cancer walk.   Eric Statler is a stage IV oral cancer survivor. As happens far too often, he was initially misdiagnosed and thought to be experiencing pain related to wisdom teeth. An infection that followed his extractions was treated with antibiotics and he was dismissed. With no resolution and increasing pain, he went back to the dentist who immediately referred him to a specialist. Someone You Should Know: (from left to right:) Mike Stahl, Kim Benkert, Denise Snarski, Bonnie Chisholm-Green, Trish DeDios, Patti DiGangi, Donna Grzegorek, Alison Stahl, Amy Frazin, Lois Roewade, Ewa Posorski, Tracy Fritz, Zuzana Buc, Cynthia Pfeiffer, and Eric Stadler.   At the age of 33, Eric was diagnosed with stage IV HPV related oral cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments followed along with multiple disfiguring surgeries and some facial paralysis. Treatments were initially [...]

2012-11-02T14:48:17-07:00October, 2012|OCF In The News|

Smokers are 40 times more likely to develop cancers in head and neck

Source: Author: Andrew Creasey, Staff Reporter The level of concern you should have for contracting cancer of the head and neck can be gauged by the answer to one simple question: Do you smoke? If the answer is no, chances are your oral cavities and voice box, the places cancers most commonly occur, will be safe from the onerous growth that can cause death if not treated soon enough. If the answer is yes, then you are 40 times more likely to contract head or neck cancer if you have been smoking for 10 years, and you should probably be aware of what to look for, said Dr. Richard DeVore, an otolaryngologist in Klamath Falls. Signs of head and neck cancer include a sore or ulcer that doesn’t heal, unexplained bleeding of the throat and, most importantly, throat or tongue pain that persists beyond several weeks, DeVore said. Such pain could be caused by the cancer, which actually eats into the tissue and can cause significant pain when it starts munching on the local nerves. Swallowing difficulties, hoarseness and lumps in the head and neck that don’t respond to antibiotics should also be examined, DeVore said. At the onset of such symptoms, it is vital to share them with a physician, DeVore said. Caught early, the cure rate of many neck and head cancers is 100 percent and can be solved with a simple operation. “The cure rates are slowly improving to some degree, but it’s a bad disease,” [...]

Top EU official resigns after snus bribe probe

Source: A complaint by Swedish Match about a suspected bribe meant to influence European tobacco policy has resulted in the resignation of EU health commissioner John Dalli, the European Union's top health official. "Commissioner John Dalli has today announced his resignation as a member of the Commission, with immediate effect," the European Commission announced in a statement released on Tuesday. Dalli's resignation, the first for a member of the Commission since 1999, came following the release on Monday of report detailing the findings of an investigation carried out by the EU's anti-fraud office, OLAF, into a complaint filed by Swedish tobacco company Swedish Match in May 2012. The complaint alleged that a Maltese entrepreneur sought to leverage his connections with Dalli, also of Malta, in order to "gain financial advantages" from Swedish Match in exchange for attempting to influence "a possible future legislative proposal on tobacco products, in particular on the EU export ban on snus". Snus – also known as Swedish snuff – is a tobacco product invented in Sweden in the early 1800s which has gained in popularity in Sweden after smoking was banned in restaurants in 2005. The sale of snus is outlawed in the European Union, but due to exemptions, it is still manufactured and consumed primarily in Norway and Sweden. The European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumers Protection recently unveiled a proposal that would ban all smoke-free tobacco products outside of Sweden. The Swedish government has for years been trying to sway the [...]

Interim results from CEL-SCI’s Multikine Phase III study on head and neck cancer

Source: CEL-SCI Corporation announced today that an interim review of the safety data from its open label, randomized, controlled, pivotal Phase III study of Multikine (Leukocyte Interleukin, Injection) investigational immunotherapy by an Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) raised no safety concerns. The IDMC also indicated that no safety signals were found that would call into question the benefit/risk of continuing the study. CEL-SCI considers the results of the IDMC review to be important since studies have shown that up to 30% of Phase III trials fail due to safety considerations and the IDMC's safety findings from this interim review were similar to those reported by investigators during CEL-SCI's Phase I-II trials. Ultimately, the decision as to whether a drug is safe is made by the FDA based on an assessment of all of the data from a trial. IDMCs are committees commonly used by sponsors of clinical trials to protect the interests of the patients in ongoing trials especially when the trials involve patients with life threatening diseases, and when, as in cancer clinical trials, they extend over long periods of time (3-5 years). The committee's membership should include physicians and clinical trial scientists knowledgeable in the appropriate disciplines, including statistics. The CEL-SCI IDMC includes prominent physicians and scientists from major institutions in the USA and abroad who are key opinion leaders in head and neck cancer and who are knowledgeable in all of the disciplines related to CEL-SCI's study, including statistics. The Multikine Phase III study is enrolling [...]

On the Job with Laura Schmitz Cook

Source: In seven years as a Registered Dental Hygienist, Laura Schmitz Cook has already seen a lot of change -- for example, she said, "Fluoride varnish has progressed. It was yellowish, now it's clear. You can give it to young kids without fear. It's a great treatment for kids with high decay risk." Digital X-rays are easier to manipulate than film, providing better information about what's going on, and because they're instantly viewable, "they're a great educational tool." Of course, some things haven't changed; Schmitz Cook spends most of her time cleaning teeth. "I take pride in being very gentle, but when people tell me they don't like the dentist, I say, 'I don't take it personally.' I understand the anxiety about going to the dentist." Through her first year in college, Schmitz Cook was torn between being a teacher and being a hygienist. After spending 20 hours shadowing a hygienist, the decision was easy. "I could see myself doing this," she said. In addition to graduating with a four-year degree from an accredited program, Schmitz Cook had to take clinical and written board examinations. Schmitz Cook moved to Minnesota as soon as she graduated from the University of South Dakota and "found a job right away through networking," although she senses that jobs are tighter in the current economy. To be registered in Minnesota, she had to pass a state test on relevant laws and the code of ethics. She also earns 25 continuing education credits every two [...]

2012-10-22T10:13:08-07:00October, 2012|OCF In The News, Oral Cancer News|

HPV vaccine does not encourage teen sex

Source: Author: CNN staff There’s been a lot of controversy over the HPV vaccine. Because Gardasil is designed to protect young people against human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease, some people believe the inoculation gives teens the go-ahead to have sex. Researchers are finding that’s not the case. HPV is known to be the cause of a number of illnesses, including mouth and throat cancer, genital warts and cervical cancer. Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all girls aged 11 and 12 receive the HPV vaccine to protect themselves. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also advised that girls and boys at that age be given the shot to fight the virus strain. But according to a new Kaiser Permanete/Emory University study published in this week’s edition of the journal Pediatrics, the vaccine has yet to be embraced by the general public. By 2010, fewer than half of girls eligible for the vaccine had received even one dose. Investigators believe that may be in part because some people who oppose the vaccine wrongly believe that it also protects against pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases, which would open the door for pre-teens to engage in sexual activity at an early age. The study finds that vaccinating children at ages 11 and 12 does not increase sexual activity in young girls. Researchers looked at the number of pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and contraceptive use in more than 1,300 pre-teen girls who received the [...]

Maine guitar savant Nick Curran dies at 35

Source: Portland Press Herald Curran, who played with Texas rockabilly legend Ronnie Dawson, died Saturday after a three-year battle with oral cancer. Nick Curran, a nationally known guitarist and singer from Sanford who played with the Texas rockabilly legend Ronnie Dawson, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and numerous other bands, died Saturday after a three-year battle with oral cancer. He was 35. Curran, who was known for blending punk, blues and rockabilly, was a frequent performer in Portland but spent much of his career in the Austin, Texas, area. Curran grew up in Sanford and started playing drums when he was 3 years old. By the time he was 9, he was learning to play the guitar. As a teenager, Curran played with his father's band, Mike Curran & the Tremors. He entered Portland's music scene with talent beyond his years. He made a big impression on Maine musicians such as Matthew Robbins, a guitarist and vocalist for King Memphis. Robbins remembers the days when Curran would stand outside Gritty McDuff's in Portland and peer through the window to watch Robbins' band play. "He was young and extremely talented," Robbins said. "Nick was like a sponge. He could see someone play something and play it right back. He was pretty amazing." Curran was a regular at The Big Easy in Portland during its popular open mike nights. Jimmy Junkins, lead singer and guitarist for Jimmy Junkins and the Soulcats, said he would sneak Curran into the bar and get him up on [...]

2012-10-10T10:49:45-07:00October, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Novel one-step system for restoring voice in throat cancer patients

Source: This picture shows the cannula (A) and the tool (B) for inserting the voice prosthesis which is usually made of silicon (partly shown on the left side of the tool). This tool will then be inserted into the cannula so that it can be injected into the patient's fistula according to the length required, using the calibration on the cannula. Credit: National University of Singapore. Patients who have lost their voice box through disease such as throat cancer may be able to speak immediately after a procedure to create a small opening at the throat. A novel system developed through an Engineering-in-Medicine project led by Dr Chui Chee Kiong, NUS Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr David Lau, Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon at Raffles Hospital, cuts down a two-week duration before patients can speak, to about 10 minutes after the initial procedure. People who undergo laryngectomy and lose their voice box can recover approximately 80 per cent of normal speech by having a voice prosthesis fitted into an opening or fistula between the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (food pipe). To speak, the patient covers the stoma (breathing opening in the neck) with his or her thumb and forces air through the prosthesis into the esophagus and out through the mouth. Before the prosthesis can be inserted, the doctor needs to make a small puncture (tracheo-esophageal puncture or TEP) in the wall between the trachea and esophagus. During the puncture, a guide-wire is inserted into the [...]

No ref’s return as special as Corrente’s

Source: Author: Peter King The voice of Tony Corrente was ebullient, as ebullient as a man who stared down his own mortality within the past few months and lived to tell about it. "How are you doing?'' I asked Corrente an hour after he refereed his first game -- Niners-Jets at the Meadowlands Sunday -- since his tongue and throat cancer eradication of last winter. "Wonderful, fantastic, perfect!'' he practically shouted into the phone. "Never been better, and I mean that. I am elated. I have a new lease on life." Corrente checked into the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston the day after his final game of the 2011 season -- the Detroit-New Orleans Wild Card game -- for treatment of a thumb-sized malignant tumor at the base of his tongue, where it connects with the back of his throat. He had 13 chemotherapy treatments and 33 zaps of radiation in a short period, to attack the tumor aggressively. Doctors told him if the tumor had been discovered as little as three weeks later the news would have been very dark for him. But they began treatment in time, and in the spring, they found that the tumor was under control. He's had two thorough checkups since, and both have given him a clean bill of health. This is why, as the National Anthem played Sunday in New Jersey, Corrente said a long prayer of thanks for his doctors and for those who supported him during the ordeal. [...]

Periodontitis increases risk of oral leukoplakia

Source: Author: Donna Domino, Features Editor Periodontitis increases the risk of developing oral leukoplakia and mucosal lesions that are predisposed to become oral cancer, according to a study in Oral Oncology (September 2012, Vol. 48:9, pp. 859-863). The findings provide clues into the complex relationship between systemic and local disease, noted the study authors from the University of Greifswald in Germany. The development of oral cancer proceeds through discrete molecular changes that are acquired from loss of genomic integrity after continued exposure to environmental risk factors. It is preceded in the majority of cases by clinically evident, potentially malignant oral disorders, the most common of which is leukoplakia, the researchers noted. Leukoplakia is an asymptomatic lesion in the oral mucosa. Oral cancer -- especially oral squamous cell carcinoma -- often develops out of these lesions, they added. Studies have shown that as many as 18% of oral premalignant lesions will develop into oral cancer. In addition, periodontal sites are often involved in proliferative types of leukoplakia. The oral cancer rate attributed to leukoplakia is between six and 29 per 100,000, according to the authors. Smoking and drinking alcohol are the main risk factors for this disease, but acute infections in the oral cavity may contribute to the risk. Inflammatory markers The study evaluated 4,310 German residents ages 20 to79 from 1997 to 2001. After five years, 3,300 participants were available for follow-up. The periodontal assessment included probing depth, clinical attachment loss, plaque, bleeding on probing, and the number of [...]

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