Monthly Archives: September 2013

Blood clots a risk after head, neck cancer surgery

Author: Salynn Boyles, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today

Clinically relevant blood clots are common in head and neck cancer patients following surgery, and routine chemoproprophylaxis is warranted in post-surgical patients hospitalized for more than 72 hours, a prospective study has found.

When the researchers followed 100 high-risk cancer patients for 30 days following surgery, they found that 13% developed venous thromboembolism (VTE), including seven who had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and one with pulmonary embolism (PE).

A total of 14% of the patients received postoperative anticoagulation therapy, and their rate of bleeding complications was 30% compared with 5.6% in patients who did not receive the therapy (P=0.01), Daniel R. Clayburgh, MD, PhD, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues wrote online Sept. 26 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

While the study was not powered to detect differences in risk factors among patients who did and did not develop VTEs, there was a trend in those with VTEs toward lower mean Karnofsky-Performance status scores (72 versus 79 in patients without them; P=0.09) and higher Caprini risk assessment scores (7.6 in VTE patients vs 6.9 in those who did not develop blood clots; P=0.09). These risk factors did not reach statistical significance.

The VTE incidence reported by Clayburgh and colleagues was higher than has been suggested in retrospective studies of the general otolaryngology population, with one recent study finding an overall VTE rate of just 1.3%.

The incidence is also higher than the OHSU research team’s own 2012 retrospective analysis of VTE in high-risk surgical patients with head and neck cancer, which confirmed VTE in 1.4% of patients. Just under 6% of patients in the study had confirmed or suspected VTE.

Cancer patients are considered a high-risk group for developing post-surgical VTE, and many medical groups including the American College of Chest Physicians and the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommend VTE prophylaxis in patients with cancer for at least a month post-surgery.

But because the VTE rate has been thought to be low in the otolaryngology population and because complications from anticoagulation therapy can be life-threatening, head and neck surgeons often ignore these guidelines, Clayburgh and colleagues noted.

“Compliance with VTE guidelines has historically been poor among otolaryngologists, presumably because patients are often able to ambulate soon after surgery, and the potential consequences of airway compromise from bleeding or hematoma are catastrophic,” they wrote. “Furthermore, there is relatively little data supporting the use of routine postoperative anticoagulation in head and neck surgery patients.”

The newly published study represents one of the first prospective examinations of the incidence of VTE in head and neck cancer surgery patients.

The 100 patients included in the study all had surgery to treat head and neck cancer at a tertiary care academic surgical center.

Between 2 and 3 days following surgery, clinical examinations and duplex ultrasonographic evaluations (US) were performed on all patients. Those with evidence of DVT or PE received anticoagulation therapy, while those with superficial VTE underwent repeat US on post-operative day four, five, or six.

Of the 13 patients that developed VTEs, nine had no clinically evident symptoms associated with the event. One experienced leg swelling, one had shortness of breath, one experienced arm swelling and discomfort and one had upper extremity swelling (4% overall rate of symptomatic VTE).

“The substantial number of asymptomatic VTEs found on routine postoperative duplex ultrasonography suggests that the incidence of VTE may have been underestimated in previous retrospective studies,” the researchers wrote.

Neither patient age, BMI, Charlson comorbidity Index score, preoperative D-dimer, or time-to-ambulation were predictive of VTE occurrence, but five of 15 patients (33%) with Caprini scores greater than 8 developed VTE, compared to just 8 of 85 (9%) of patients with scores of 8 or lower (P=0.02).

Study limitations cited by the researchers included a potential confounding effect related to the use of VTE chemoprophylaxis in some patients. They noted that most of the patients who were treated with VTE chemoprophylaxis had been admitted to the ICU following surgery and were treated according to standardized ICU protocols.

“It could be argued that excluding these participants would exclude the sickest participants who are potentially at greatest risk for VTE,” they wrote. “Thus, we elected to include all participants as an intention-to-treat analysis despite the potential confounding effects of the use of VTE chemoprophylaxis.”

They added that the study population was highly selected to include only high-risk patients so the results can not be extrapolated to those with early-stage, limited head and neck cancer.

Despite these limitations, Clayburgh and colleagues concluded that post-surgical VTE appears to occur at a higher rate than has previously been reported in high-risk head and neck cancer patients.

“Our results support the use of routine VTE chemoprophylaxis in patients with head and neck cancer admitted for more than 72 hours after surgery,” they wrote. “Importantly, these data establish a baseline VTE rate in high-risk head and neck cancer surgery patients that can serve as a benchmark for future prospective trials of VTE chemoprophylaxis and risk stratification.”

September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Prominent M.D. Anderson cancer doctor dies at 63

Source: Houston Chronicle
Published: June 22,2013
By: Todd Ackerman
OCF sadly reports the death of one of its founding board members and good friend, Dr. Kian Ang. Dr. Ang was Brian Hill’s personal radiation oncologist when he was treated at MDACC for his oral cancer. The two developed a strong friendship over the years. Brian often refers to Dr. Ang as one of his most valued mentors in the treatment of oral cancers, and in critical thinking when reviewing scientific papers. He will be greatly missed as a strong contributor and advisor to OCF, having helped set its direction for many years.


Dr. Kian Ang, a prominent cancer doctor who helped popularize the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center tradition of ringing a bell at the end of rawImageradiation treatment, died Wednesday. He was 63.

Ang, who pioneered practice-changing treatment for head and neck cancers, succumbed to cancer at M.D. Anderson, surrounded by family. He was diagnosed recently with the disease.

“Dr. Ang was the true triple threat – outstanding clinician, accomplished investigator and educator par excellence,” said Dr. Randal Weber, chairman of head and neck surgery at M.D. Anderson. “He was the guy who could do it all, what many of us aspire to be but fall short of.”

Colleagues at the University of Texas cancer center said Ang’s greatest achievements included pioneering work treating head and neck cancers with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, particularly targeted therapies; and determining that cancers of the throat are more sensitive to treatment if caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, rather than smoking or drinking.

But Ang’s most lasting legacy may be his role in M.D. Anderson’s beloved bell-ringing customs. It dates to 1996, when one of Ang’s patients, a Navy admiral, told the doctor he wanted to employ the military branch’s tradition of ringing a bell to symbolize that “the job was done.”

The admiral brought to M.D. Anderson a brass bell, rang it several times and donated it to Ang and the staff.

It soon became popular with Ang’s patients, then throughout the cancer center.

Today, on any given day, five to 10 M.D. Anderson patients ring the bell, at the conclusion of their radiation treatment. In 2006, when M.D. Anderson built a mammoth proton therapy center, an Asian-influenced, advanced form of radiation, they included a gong for patients to ring.

In 2011, Ang was awarded the American Society of Radiation Oncology’s highest honor, its Gold Medal Award. He recently had been named vice president of M.D. Anderson’s Global Academic Program, a job that entailed orchestrating academic and educational collaborations between the Houston center and 26 leading cancer centers around the world.

Born in Indonesia on May 26, 1950, and educated at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, Ang came to M.D. Anderson in 1984 and quickly embarked upon path-breaking research.

That included the rare feat of taking a drug from infancy in the laboratory to clinical trials.

“He literally wrote the book on radiation treatment for head and neck cancer,” said Dr. James Cox, former head of radiation oncology at M.D. Anderson.

“There were books before, but his was the most definitive, the most sophisticated in the last couple decades.”

Ang is survived by his wife, a son and daughter and their spouses and three sisters.

A memorial service at M.D. Anderson is being planned but not yet scheduled.

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Eating, Swallowing Exercises May Aid Throat Cancer Patients

Source: US News
Published: September 19, 2013


Keeping up these activities during chemo or radiation linked to better diets after treatment, study finds


THURSDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) — Throat cancer patients appear to benefit from continuing to eat and doing swallowing exercises while undergoing radiation treatment or chemotherapy, researchers say.

Radiation treatment can interfere with a person’s ability to swallow, but performing swallowing exercises can help patients prevent weakness that can occur after periods of not swallowing.

The new study included nearly 500 patients treated for throat cancer between 2002 and 2008. Of the 58 percent of patients who followed swallowing exercises, 74 percent were able to maintain eating at the end of their treatment, the investigators found.

In addition, eating and doing swallowing exercises during the treatment period were linked to better long-term diets after treatment ended and less time relying on a feeding tube, according to the study, which was published online Sept. 19 in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery.

Long-term swallowing outcomes were best in patients who continued eating throughout radiation treatment or chemotherapy and followed their swallowing-exercise regimen, said Katherine Hutcheson, of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and colleagues. Outcomes were worst in patients who did not eat or do swallowing exercises.

Nearly 14,000 new cases of throat cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, the study authors said in a journal news release.

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.


September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

How fatty acids aids cancer prevention

Author: staff

Omega-3 fatty acids, contained in oily fish such as salmon and trout, selectively inhibit growth and induce cell death in early and late-stage oral and skin cancers, according to new research from scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

In vitro tests showed omega-3 fatty acids induced cell death in malignant and pre-malignant cells at doses which did not affect normal cells, suggesting they have the potential to be used in both the treatment and prevention of certain skin and oral cancers. Humans cannot make omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in large quantities and so we must acquire them from our diet.

The scientists were studying a particular type of cancer called squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC). Squamous cells are the main part of the outermost layers of the skin, and SCC is one of the major forms of skin cancer. However, squamous cells also occur in the lining of the digestive tract, lungs, and other areas of the body. Oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) are the sixth most common cancer worldwide and are difficult and very expensive to treat.

In the experiments, the scientists grew cell cultures in the lab from several different cells lines to which they added fatty acids. The cell lines included both malignant oral and skin SCCs, along with pre-malignant cells and normal skin and oral cells.

Professor Kenneth Parkinson, head of the Oral Cancer Research Group at Queen Mary’s Institute of Dentistry, said: “We found that the omega-3 fatty acid selectively inhibited the growth of the malignant and pre-malignant cells at doses which did not affect the normal cells.

“Surprisingly, we discovered this was partly due to an over-stimulation of a key growth factor (epidermal growth factor) which triggered cell death. This is a novel mechanism of action of these fatty acids.”

While previous research has linked omega-3 fatty acids with the prevention of a number of cancers, there has been very little work done on oral cancers or normal cells.

Dr. Zacharoula Nikolakopoulou, carried out the research while studying her Ph.D at Queen Mary, under the supervision of Professor Parkinson and Professor Adina Michael-Titus, who is co-ordinating a programme of work on the protection of the nervous system with omega-3 fatty acids, in the Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma at Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute.

Nikolakopoulou said: “As the doses needed to kill the cancer cells do not affect normal cells, especially with one particular fatty acid we used called Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), there is potential for using omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of skin and oral cancers.

“It may be that those at an increased risk of such cancers – or their recurrence – could benefit from increased omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, as the skin and oral cancers are often easily accessible, there is the potential to deliver targeted doses locally via aerosols or gels. However further research is needed to define the appropriate therapeutic doses.”

September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Woman From CDC’s Anti-Smoking Ads Dies: ‘She May Well Have Saved More Lives Than Most Doctors Do’

By: Annie-Rose Strasser
Published: September 17, 2013


A woman who starred in the highly-effective anti-smoking ads put out by the Centers for Disease Control died of cancer on Tuesday at 53 years old.



Terrie Hall faced a long, uphill health battle from smoking. She first was diagnosed with cancer in 2000, and continued smoking throughout many of her health struggles. But in 2012, Hall began participating in the “Tips from Former Smokers” ads by the CDC — a program funded largley by Obamacare.

The CDC’s videos of her captured Hall telling her own story about being a smoker. In one video, she advised smokers, “make a video of yourself before all this happens. Read your children a storybook, or sing a lullaby. I wish I had.”

“She was a public health hero,” Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, told the AP. “She may well have saved more lives than most doctors do.”

The CDC’s ads were the first-ever national cessation push. Fifty-four million dollars were dedicated to funding it, and it’s estimated to have reached 40 million smokers. A survey found that 79 percent of smokers and 74 percent of nonsmokers saw the ads.

And that, according to researchers at the CDC, translated into results. They estimate that the commercials of Hall and other smokers inspired 1.6 million people to try to quit, and that 100,000 likely will.


* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.



September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Head and Neck Cancers Increasingly Referred to Teaching Hospitals

By Will Boggs, MD
Published: September 9, 2013

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Sep 09 – An increasing proportion of head and neck cancers is being treated at teaching hospitals and academic centers – which may be good news for patients, and bad news for the hospitals.

“Higher volume centers end up doing more complex work,” Dr. Eliot Abemayor from David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California told Reuters Health by email. “Since more specialized centers are doing this work, they cannot be held accountable to having poorer outcomes per se since the patients in general are the sickest and most complex.”

The care of patients with head and neck cancer is labor intensive and expensive, and over the past decade, a greater number of patients seem to be receiving care at teaching hospitals and academic institutions than at local or community-based institutions.

In an effort to document this trend and its implications, Dr. Abemayor and Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston used data from the Nationwide In-patient Sample for the calendar years 2000, 2005, and 2010, which included roughly 29,000, 33,500, and 37,500 inpatient hospital head and neck cancer stays, respectively.

This trend represents an increase of approximately 29% over the three study years, the researchers note.

These data demonstrated a significant increase in the proportion of stays for teaching hospitals, from 61.7% in 2005 to 79.8% in 2010 (p<0.001).

At the same time, the number of admissions to medium- bed-size hospitals for head and neck cancer inpatient stays decreased, although the overall change was not statistically significant.

Although a head and neck patient in 2005 was only 10% more likely to be admitted to a teaching hospital than in 2000, a patient in 2010 was 2.5 times more likely to be admitted to a teaching hospital than in 2000, the research team reported September 5 online in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

Medicare or Medicaid covered more than half the patients in both 2000 and 2010, and there was no significant difference in payer mix between teaching and nonteaching hospitals.

“On the positive side, regionalization of head and neck cancer care to teaching institutions is likely to offer significant individual patient and societal benefit, although such benefits will need to be confirmed over time,” the authors say. “The net result of such an increase in volume would be anticipated improved quality and outcomes.”

Because most head and neck cancers will be performed at academic centers (and few elsewhere), goals and objectives of residency training as they pertain to head and neck surgical oncology may need to be revamped, Dr. Abemayor said. Earlier subspecialization may be one approach.

“Irrespective of payer distribution,” the authors conclude, “such intrinsically more expensive care must be part of the discussion between hospitals, health care providers, and payers when bundled payments are made if the fiscal viability of academic institutions is to be maintained.”

As for improving reimbursement for teaching hospitals, Dr. Abemayor said, “The major way is for the teaching hospitals not to be coerced into accepting reimbursement based on formulas that are unrealistic and outcomes driven. If they are doing the majority of cases, frankly, payers have nowhere else to go.”


*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.


September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

University of Kentucky Cancer Center is Off Its Rocker: Testifies that Smoking is No More Harmful than Vaping

Date: September 10, 2013


According to a press release issued Monday, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center testified before the state legislature that smoking is no more harmful than vaping.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The University of Kentucky Cancer Center apparently testified that smoking – which kills 400,000 people each year in the U.S. – is no more hazardous than vaping, which involves no tobacco and no combustion and merely involves the vaporization of nicotine from a solution containing propylene glycol and glycerin.

According to the press release, which appears to have been issued by Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Program, the University of Kentucky Cancer Center director – Dr. Mark Evers – told a state legislative panel that e-cigarettes may be “every bit as dangerous” as smoking tobacco.

The Rest of the Story

Let’s be very straight about this: if the tobacco companies said exactly the same thing before the legislature, they would probably be facing criminal charges for perjury, as well as civil liability charges for fraud.

For any tobacco company to defraud the American public by undermining the health consequences of smoking by stating that they are no more harmful than electronic cigarettes would be unheard of in 2013, and no tobacco company would ever do such a thing. They wouldn’t be caught dead making such an outright lie.

Apparently, this is not so for the University of Kentucky Cancer Center, which stepped into territory that used to be occupied by Big Tobacco, lying before a state legislative panel, asserting that vaping is every bit as dangerous as smoking.

Even the tobacco companies agree that smoking is more hazardous than vaping. I don’t understand how any scientist, especially a physician at a cancer center, could downplay the hazards of smoking so much as to suggest that they are no more harmful than a product that contains no tobacco and involves no combustion.

What is it about electronic cigarettes that causes its opponents to consistently lie to the public and make up scientific data to support their opposition? My guess is that the evidence is simply too strong for them to confront directly and honestly. Why else the need to resort to lying or misleading the public?


 *This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.


September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Recommending HPV Vaccine Successfully

Source: Medscape
Date: September 3, 2013
By: Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS)


Hello, I’m Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I’m pleased to speak with you today, as part of the CDC Expert Commentary Series on Medscape.

The CDC has had both encouraging and disappointing study results to share about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine this year. One report showed how well the vaccine is working, whereas the second showed how poorly we are doing at immunizing teenagers.

In June, we reported that since the HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006, vaccine-type HPV prevalence has declined 56% among female teenagers 14-19 years of age. In July, we reported that HPV vaccination coverage did not increase at all from 2011 to 2012 in 13- to 17-year-old girls. Only one half of teen girls in the United States have received the first dose of this anticancer vaccine, and only one third have received the full protection provided by all 3 doses. However, our National Immunization Survey also showed that if HPV vaccine were given every time a preteen received another vaccine, the coverage rate for 1 dose of HPV vaccine would be more than 90%. The HPV vaccine is effective, and teenagers are in our offices, but we are missing opportunities to vaccinate (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Actual vs missed opportunities to vaccinate teenage girls against HPV.

Why are we missing opportunities to vaccinate teens against HPV? In the same survey that measured the HPV vaccine coverage, we ask parents why they didn’t plan to vaccinate their child. Many parents said their doctor had not recommended the vaccine to them. This is critical. Research consistently shows that a provider’s recommendation to vaccinate is the single most influential factor in determining whether a parent gets their child vaccinated. Doctors and nurses need to step up our efforts by talking to parents about the importance of this vaccine. I know this can be done.

Our research suggests that there are some approaches that work. The way that you make the recommendation matters. One of the best ways to reach parents is to recommend HPV vaccine in the same way you recommend any other vaccine. Try saying, “Today your child needs 3 vaccines. These vaccines prevent HPV cancers, meningitis, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.” Many parents will accept this confident recommendation without question.

However, some parents may have questions. Don’t assume that a conversation about HPV vaccine represents vaccine hesitancy. Parents of preteens and teenagers may be interested in having their child vaccinated against HPV, but before saying yes, they may need your reassurance that you feel strongly that their child should get this vaccine. One message that parents find the most reassuring is when you share that you have protected your own children, grandchildren, or other close family members from HPV cancers by making sure that they are vaccinated.

Some parents may ask what diseases are caused by HPV infection. CDC research has shown that parents want straightforward information and the facts about the cancers caused by HPV. Tell them that persistent HPV infection can cause vaginal, vulvar, and cervical cancers in women and penile cancers in men. Both men and women can get anal cancer and cancer of the mouth and throat caused by HPV. With the exception of cervical cancer, no screening programs exist for these cancers, and by the time they are caught, they are often advanced and devastating.

Some parents will tell you that their child doesn’t need the vaccine because they aren’t yet sexually active. Help these parents understand that HPV vaccine should be given long before their child is exposed to the virus. Explain that we want 11- and 12-year-old girls and boys to get all 3 doses of HPV vaccine and have time to build an immune response well in advance of the onset of sexual activity.

Parents may also be concerned that this vaccine will give their child permission or license to have sex. Multiple studies have shown that preteens and teens who receive this vaccine do not have sex any sooner than their peers who have not received the vaccine. Parents need to hear that from you. We know that sexuality is a sensitive and uncomfortable topic for many families, especially with their son or daughter present. You may want to tell parents that HPV vaccine doesn’t open the door to sex; it closes the door on cancer. Parents want to hear from you that HPV vaccine is about cancer prevention. Let me say that again: the HPV vaccine prevents cancer.

There is one other topic that parents frequently raise about all vaccines, including HPV: vaccine safety. Multiple studies and ongoing monitoring systems continually reaffirm that the HPV vaccine is safe. Since 2006, about 57 million doses of HPV vaccine have been distributed in the United States, and in the 7 years of HPV vaccine safety studies and monitoring that we have been conducting, no serious safety concerns have been identified.

It is important to share with parents that preteens and teens may faint after getting a vaccine. That happens with many vaccines given to teenagers and may have nothing to do with the actual vaccine. We strongly recommend that the teen be observed sitting down for 15 minutes after an injection is given.

For additional resources, visit the links at the end of this page. A new resource has been designed to help you have clear, confident HPV vaccine conversations, Tips and Timesavers for Talking With Parents About HPV Vaccine. The messages on this tip sheet address parents’ key questions and have phrases that parents have found helpful.


* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.


September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Tobacco Companies Target Youth, Mislead Public About Smokeless Products In Order To Maintain Profits

Source: Medical Daily
Published: September 10,2013
By: Anthony Rivas

British American Tobacco (BAT), the maker of Lucky Strike, Dunhill, and Pall Mall cigarettes, has recently spent some time promoting its smokeless tobacco brands, saying that snus, a moist tobacco that’s typically placed under the upper lip, is “at least 90 percent less harmful than smoking cigarettes.” But new research, meant to serve as information for tobacco policy in the European Union (EU), finds that BAT and other tobacco companies aren’t really concerned about the public’s health and, rather, are more concerned about maintaining profits should cigarette sales decline.

Snus, one of the many forms of smokeless tobacco, is currently banned in every country in the EU except for Sweden. Researchers with the UK Center for Tobacco Control Studies were tasked with finding information regarding transnational tobacco companies’ interests in smokeless tobacco from the 1970s to the present, to better inform policymakers in their decision, according to a statement.

It’s All For The Profits

By comparing the tobacco industry’s internal documents to its campaigns to help reduce public harm with smokeless tobacco, the researchers found that “there is clear evidence that [British American Tobacco’s] early interest in introducing [smokeless tobacco] in Europe was based on the potential for creating an alternative form of tobacco use in light of declining cigarette sales and social restrictions on smoking, with young people a key target,” they wrote.

BAT’s internal documents note cigarettes’ declining popularity, saying, “We have no wish to aid or hasten any decline in cigarette smoking. Deeper involvement in smokeless is strategically defensible. There are fewer people in sophisticated markets starting to smoke. There are increasing numbers of people giving up. There are increasing restrictions on smoking, particularly in public, whether by law or by society.”

An estimated 10 million people currently smoke cigarettes in the UK, and 29 percent of all citizens of the EU smoke. Numerous campaigns to help people quit — 31 percent of EU smokers have tried to quit in the last year — have been implemented, even including an iPhone app that analyzes smoking habits and provides daily, customized advice. With such campaigns, smoking rates have gone down across the continent.

Although there may be lower levels of the carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines in smokeless tobacco, the National Cancer Institute says that there are still at least 28 chemicals that have been found to cause cancer. Smokeless tobacco has been found to cause oral, esophageal, and pancreatic cancers.

Smokeless Tobacco, Cigarettes, and the Youth

BAT and other tobacco companies specifically target young people in their smokeless tobacco campaigns, the authors said. Portioning snus made it easier to use for young people, and the companies chose which markets to test throughout Europe based on youth and student populations. When certain brands of snus were launched in the UK, “students were both the target and the means of promotion.”

“The fact that smokeless tobacco investments in Europe coincided with the implementation of smoke-free policies, combined with evidence of the industry’s promotion of dual cigarette and snus use in the U.S., add weight to the concern that transnational tobacco companies may hope to exploit snus as a way to reduce the impact of regulations aimed at reducing smoking rates,” the authors wrote. Last month, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that rather than replacing cigarettes with smokeless tobacco, one in 20 middle and high school students were using both.

The authors concluded that the “Swedish experience” with snus could not be generalized to other countries in which snus is not as popular. They say that evidence pointed directly to the industry’s interest in snus “because it could be used in smoke-free environments and could be promoted to young, non-tobacco users to create a new form of tobacco use. This last finding lends support to concerns that smokeless tobacco may lead to, rather than from, smoking.”


*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|

Verisante Technology, Inc. Announces Completion of Prototype of Multispectral Imaging System for Skin Cancer

Source: MarketWatch
Published: September 10, 2013


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Sep 10, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — Verisante Technology, Inc. CA:VRS -4.84% (otcqx:VRSEF) (the “Company” or “Verisante”), a leader in cancer detection technology, announced today that the Company has completed the second phase prototype of a rapid Multispectral Imaging (“MSI”) System for skin cancer detection.

The MSI device is intended to assist medical professionals in the detection of all major forms of skin cancer. The device takes images of suspicious lesions with more than a dozen different wavelengths of light to capture real-time spectral images in a fraction of a second. These spectral images contain unique information about suspected skin lesions such as tissue oxygenation ratios, hemoglobin levels, melanin levels, scatter sizes, and other parameters.

The prototype system is currently undergoing laboratory testing at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre prior to starting in vivo data collection for training the predictive algorithm for the device.

“Being able to extract the parameters collected by this MSI system could provide a strong predictive measurement for all major forms of skin cancer,” said Dr. Haishan Zeng, a distinguished scientist in the Integrative Oncology Department at the BC Cancer Agency.

Verisante licensed the MSI technology from the inventors, Dr. Haishan Zeng and Dr. Yasser Fawzy of the BC Cancer Agency, for skin cancer and oral cancer detection as part of a broader acquisition strategy to enhance the Company’s intellectual property portfolio of different technologies that, in addition to MSI, include white light reflectance imaging, fluorescence imaging and rapid Raman spectroscopy.

The MSI camera is intended to be a low cost, hand held, portable device that connects to a laptop computer via USB cable to assist in the detection of skin cancer and will be a great addition to our existing product line. The company will also explore the possibility of combining the MSI camera with the existing Aura device to determine if the two different technologies produce higher accuracy when results are combined since they are measuring different parameters.

Verisante has filed for patent protection in over 10 jurisdictions on the MSI technology, and the PCT application is now in the final, national and regional phase.

“This is a major milestone for the MSI camera project which began two years ago when it was just an idea on paper. It is finally beginning to look more like a product than a prototype. While it is already lightweight and compact, we anticipate the final version will be even smaller and lighter. This company has demonstrated once again its ability to take projects from the idea stage and create products”, said Thomas Braun, CEO. “Once the skin cancer version is proven we will build another version for oral cancer detection.”

To view photos of the second phase prototype, visit the Company’s facebook page at

About the BC Cancer Agency

The BC Cancer Agency is part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), providing province-wide specialty healthcare in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The BC Cancer Agency provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of BC by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care.

About Verisante Technology, Inc.

Verisante is a medical device company committed to commercializing innovative systems for the early detection of cancer. The Verisante Aura(TM) for skin cancer detection and the Verisante Core(TM) series for lung, colon and cervical cancer detection utilize a proprietary cancer detection platform while the operating software and probe technology are unique to each device. The cancer detection platform was developed by the BC Cancer Agency and tested and refined at the Skin Care Centre at Vancouver General Hospital. This exclusive platform technology allows Verisante to develop and offer a range of compact, non-invasive cancer detection devices that offer physicians immediate results for many of the most common cancers. Aura(TM) has been approved for sale in Canada, Europe and Australia. Core(TM) has not yet been approved for sale.

Verisante Aura(TM) was awarded Popular Science Magazine’s “Best of What’s New Award” for 2011, awarded a 2013 Prism Award for Innovation in Photonics and an Edison Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2013. Verisante Core(TM) was named one of the top 10 cancer breakthroughs of 2011 by the Canadian Cancer Society.

The TSX Venture Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved of the contents of this press release. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

September, 2013|Oral Cancer News|