Study: Oropharyngeal cancer on the rise in young adults

Source: Author: staff A new study reveals an alarming increase in oropharyngeal cancers among young adults. While the exact cause for this phenomenon is unknown, the human papillomavirus (HPV) may be to blame. According to researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit there was an overall 60 percent increase from 1973 and 2009 in cancers of the base of tongue, tonsils, soft palate and pharynx in people younger than age 45. Among Caucasians, there was a 113 percent increase, while among African-Americans the rate of these cancers declined by 52 percent during that period of time. But compared to Caucasians and other races, the five-year survival rate remains worse for African Americans. The study is published online ahead of print in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. "The growing incidence in oropharyngeal cancer has been largely attributed to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, which led to an increased transmission of high-risk HPV," says study lead author Farzan Siddiqui, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Head & Neck Radiation Therapy Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital. "We were interested in looking at people born during that time period and incidence of oropharyngeal cancer. Not only were we surprised to find a substantial increase in young adults with cancer of the tonsils and base of tongue, but also a wide deviation among Caucasians and African Americans with this cancer." The American Cancer Society estimates about [...]

New oral cancer saliva test could reduce false-positive results

Source: Author: staff Researchers at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry have discovered a new saliva test for oral cancer that could reduce false-positive results. As new oral cancer diagnoses rose to more than 41,000 in 2013, the demand for early detection continues to increase. Yi-Shing Lisa Cheng, DDS, PhD, an associate professor in diagnostic sciences at Baylor College, has been working to develop a saliva test as an oral cancer screening tool, according to an A&M announcement. In 2009, she received a $381,000 R21 grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to find reliable oral cancer salivary biomarkers, which can be used as indicators of disease or other health conditions. Dr. Cheng recently received a $50,000 faculty bridge grant from Texas A&M Health Science Center and A&M Baylor College of Dentistry's diagnostic sciences department to continue this research. The goal is to determine whether patients with oral lichen planus and periodontal disease exhibit false positives for the future oral cancer saliva tests. Dr. Cheng noted that early detection of cancer is always good and using a saliva test is a noninvasive and relatively easy procedure. Her research differs from models that compare salivary biomarkers of oral cancer patients with those of completely healthy individuals. Instead, Dr. Cheng looked at the biomarkers of patients with noncancerous oral conditions. It's an effort that could save patients thousands of dollars, not to mention the stress and health complications associated with false-positive results. Dr. [...]

Cigarettes, More Addictive than Ever Before

Source: The New York TimesPublished: January 23, 2014By: The Editorial Board It was a shock to learn from the latest surgeon general’s report that, because of changes in the design and composition of cigarettes, smokers today face a higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes. It is equally shocking to learn now that some of today’s cigarettes may be more addictive than those smoked in past years, most likely because the manufacturers are designing them to deliver more nicotine to the lungs to induce and sustain addiction. That devious tactic requires a strong response by regulators. A report published last week in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research found that while the nicotine content of cigarettes has remained relatively stable for more than a decade, the amount of that nicotine delivered to the machines researchers use as surrogates for smokers has been rising. The researchers, from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, analyzed data from four manufacturers as required by state law. The findings varied among the companies and brands, but the overall trend led the researchers to conclude that changes in cigarette design have increased the efficiency of delivering nicotine to a smoker’s lungs. Young people who experiment with smoking may thus become addicted more easily and existing smokers may find it harder to quit. Those provocative findings will need to be verified by other experts but are consistent with the surgeon [...]

2014-01-30T16:54:23-07:00January, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Anti-Vaccine Movement

Source: LA TimesBy: Michael HiltzikPublished: January 20, 2014  Measles outbreaks (purple) worldwide and whooping cough (green) in the U.S., thanks in part to the anti-vaccination movement. (Council on Foreign Relations) Aaron Carroll today offers a graphic depiction of the toll of the anti-vaccination movement. (H/t: Kevin Drum.) It comes from a Council on Foreign Relations interactive map of "vaccine-preventable outbreaks" worldwide 2008-2014. A couple of manifestations stand out. One is the prevalence of measles in Europe -- especially Britain -- and the U.S. Measles is endemic in the underdeveloped world because of the unavailability of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. But in the developed world it's an artifact of the anti-vaccination movement, which has associated the vaccine with autism. That connection, promoted by the discredited British physician Andrew Wakefield and the starlet Jenny McCarthy, has been thoroughly debunked. But its effects live on, as the map shows. Vaccine panic also plays a role in the shocking incidence in the U.S. of whooping cough, also beatable by a common vaccine. Researchers have pointed to the effect of "non-medical exemptions" from legally required whooping cough immunizations -- those premised on personal beliefs rather than medical reasons -- as a factor in a 2010 outbreak of whooping cough in California. ALSO: The seamy history of the vaccine-autism "link" These manifestations underscore the folly and irresponsibility of giving credence to anti-vaccination  fanatics, as Katie Couric did on her network daytime TV show in December. We examined the ethics of that ratings stunt [...]

2014-01-28T18:01:30-07:00January, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Medical overcharges becoming all too common

Source: Theava.comBy: Ralph NaderPublished: January 21, 2014  An epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with the process of pricing and providing health care. The latest in this medical cost saga comes from new data released last week by National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest nurse’s organization. In a news release, NNU revealed that fourteen hospitals in the United States are charging more than ten times their costs for treatment. Specifically, for every $100 one of these hospitals spends, the charge on the corresponding bill is nearly $1,200. NNU’s key findings note that the top 100 most expensive U.S. hospitals have “a charge to cost ratio of 765% and higher — more than double the national average of 331%.” They found that despite the enactment of “Obamacare” — the Affordable Care Act — overall hospital charges experienced their largest increase in 16 years. For-profit hospitals continue to be the worst offenders with average charges of 503% of their costs compared to publically-run hospitals (“…including federal, state, county, city, or district operated hospitals, with public budgets and boards that meet in public…”) which show more restraint in pricing. The average charge ratios for these hospitals are 235% of their costs. The needless complications of the vast medical marketplace have provided far too many opportunities for profiteering. Numerous examples of hospital visit bills feature enormous overcharges on simple supplies [...]

2014-01-28T17:50:39-07:00January, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Influence of fluorescence on screening decisions for oral lesions in community dental practices

Source: Cancer Prevention Research - American Association for Cancer ResearchBy: Denise M. Laronde, P Michele Williams, T Greg Hislop, Catherine Poh, Samson Ng, Chris Badjik, Lewei Zhang, Calum MacAuley, and Miriam Rosin  Abstract Oral cancer is a global issue, with almost 300,000 new cases reported annually. While the oral cavity is cancer site that is easily examined, >40% of oral cancers are diagnosed at a late stage when prognosis is poor and treatment can be devastating. Opportunistic screening within the dental office could lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention with improved survival. Tools to aid screening are available but it is vital to validate them within the general dental office amongst clinicians with less experience than specialists in high-risk clinics. Fluorescence visualization (FV) is a tool used to assess alterations to tissue fluorescence. The goal of this study was to determine how clinicians made decisions about referral based on the risk classification of the lesion, how FV was integrated and how it affected the decision to refer. Information on FV rates in private practice and how FV affects decision making is vital to determine the feasibility of using this tool in a general practice setting. Methods: 15 dental offices participated in a 1-day workshop on oral cancer screening, including an introduction to and use of FV. Participants then screened patients (medical history, convention oral exam, fluorescent visualization exam) in-office for 11 months. Participants were asked to triage lesions by apparent risk: low, intermediate and high. Low-risk (LR) lesions were common and [...]

2014-01-24T17:40:44-07:00January, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

New RNA interference technique finds seven genes for head and neck cancer

Source: The Rockefeller UniversityPublished: Friday, January 24, 2014  In the hunt for genetic mutations that cause cancer, there is a lot of white noise. So although genetic sequencing has identified hundreds of genetic alterations linked to tumors, it’s still an enormous challenge to figure out which ones are actually responsible for the growth and metastasis of cancer. Scientists in Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development have created a new technique that can weed out that noise — eliminating the random bystander genes and identifying the ones that are critical for cancer. Applying their technique to head and neck cancers, they’ve discovered seven new tumor-suppressor genes whose role in cancer was previously unknown. Interfering with cancer.  A section of a head and neck tumor — red and green markers show the proliferation of cancer stem cells — that formed when one of several newly characterized genes, Myh9, was suppressed. A recently developed genetic screening technique using RNA interference identified Myh9’s protein, myosin IIa, as playing an important role in tumor suppression. The new technique, which the lab recently applied to a screen for skin tumor genes, is particularly useful because it takes a fraction of the resources and much less time than the traditional method for determining gene function — breeding genetically modified animals to study the impact of missing genes. “Using knockout mice, which are model organisms bred to have a particular gene missing, is not feasible when there are 800 potential head and neck cancer genes to [...]

2014-01-24T13:05:29-07:00January, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Number of cancer stem cells might not predict outcome in HPV-related oral cancers

Source: Medical XpressPublished: January 22, 2014By: Amanda J. Harper  (Medical Xpress)—New research from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) suggests that it may be the quality of cancer stem cells rather than their quantity that leads to better survival in certain patients with oral cancer. The researchers investigated cancer stem cell numbers in oral cancers associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) and in oral cancers not associated with the virus. Typically, patients with HPV-positive oral cancer respond better to therapy and have a more promising prognosis than patients with HPV-negative tumors. The latter are usually associated with tobacco and alcohol use. The OSUCCC – James team's findings, published in the journal Cancer, suggest that relying on the number of cancer stem cells in a tumor might inaccurately estimate the potential for the tumor's recurrence or progression. "We show that high levels of cancer stem cells are not necessarily associated with a worse prognosis in head and neck cancer, a finding that could have far-reaching implications for patient care," says principal investigator Quintin Pan, PhD, associate professor of otolaryngology and scientist with the OSUCCC – James Experimental Therapeutics Program. Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, with an estimated 600,000 cases diagnosed annually. Although the disease is often linked to alcohol and tobacco use, cancer-causing types of HPV are a major risk factor for the malignancy, and cases of HPV-associated oral cancers have [...]

2014-01-22T16:03:37-07:00January, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Cancer survivors demand picture-based warnings on cigarette labels

Source: Author: staff MANILA, Philippines -- More than 150 anti-smoking activists, including throat cancer survivors, marched to the Commission on Human Rights in Quezon City Thursday to urge government to fast-track the passage of legislation requiring tobacco firms to put graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. The “Right to Health Walk” is the third march organized by New Vois Association of the Philippines to push public health issues to the fore. “Ten percent of the world’s 1.3 billion smokers can be found in Southeast Asia where the Philippines belong. We are the second largest smoking population in this region with 17.3 million adults smoking. More than 87,000 Filipinos die every year because of smoking -- that’s more than the number of those who succumb to heart attack and stroke. This is clear and present danger that must be addressed at the soonest,” Emer Rojas, NVAP president, said. Rojas said graphic health warnings provide a clearer message about the harm smoking causes, especially to women, children, and the poor who are lured to the habit by the attractive designs of cigarette packs. The newly released Tobacco Atlas of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance showed the Philippines among the three countries with the most number of smoking women in the region. It is estimated that nine percent of Filipino women smoke. This is statistically more than Indonesia, which has the most number of smokers in the region. Only 4.5 percent of Indonesian women smoke. The Tobacco Atlas also estimates that [...]

LED Medical, BC Cancer Agency, Genome British Columbia to develop test for oral cancer

Source: Author: staff LED Medical Diagnostics this week announced an agreement to form a collaboration to develop and commercialize a progression-risk assessment test for oral cancer. The agreement is with BC Cancer Agency to form a relationship with Genome British Columbia. The test, LED said, is based on loss of heterozygosity. The Genome BC Strategic Opportunities Fund is funding the project called “Development of an actionable molecular test for risk assessment of oral precancers,” which is designed to leverage research that Canada’s National Institute of Health and the Terry Fox Research Institute funded. Catherine Poh, an associate professor of dentistry at the University of British Columbia, is the project leader. In a statement, LED Medical's Founder and Director Peter Whitehead said, "Until recently, a major barrier to oral cancer prevention has been the lack of validated risk predictors for oral premalignant lesions. …This test, which measures specific genetic changes that have been shown to predict aggressive tumor growth, has the potential to lower oral cancer morbidity and mortality rates." "Throughout the development process we will strive to create the first test that quantifies the likelihood that an oral lesion will progress to cancer,” he added. LED Medical is based in British Columbia and develops LED-based visualization technologies.

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