After-effects of oral cancer surgery forces patients into unemployment and depression

Source: economicvoice.comAuthor: Economic Voice Staff Cancer Patients are being forced into unemployment due to the after-effects of surgery and higher levels of depression. Research into head and neck cancer patients discovered the rate of those employed fell by more than 40 per cent five years after diagnosis, where only one in three managed to secure work. They also reported unemployed cancer survivors had lower social well-being and higher depression scores For those cancer sufferers out of work prior to diagnosis, their reasons for not returning to work also included the knock-on effect of surgery as well as dangerous levels of alcohol consumption. Figures from Cancer Research UK reveal more than 331,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2011 – around 910 every day. According to mouth cancer campaigners, the problems are exacerbated for mouth cancer patients. Previous research identified mouth cancer survivors face a diminished quality of life. Survivors reported poor oral function, resulting in persistent eating problems and long term depression. More than half of respondents (51.6 per cent) reported problems with eating, while on average one in four survivors who lived for five or more years still experienced speech problems. It was a similar story when it came to a patient’s physical and mental health, with more than a third (36.7 per cent and 39.3 per cent respectively) recording low functionality after the five year analysis. According to Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, the study highlights the problems mouth cancer sufferers face on a daily basis. Dr [...]

2014-03-31T15:05:13-07:00March, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Jim Kelly’s toughest game: Fighting oral cancer

Source: Author: Dr. Manny Alvarez Jim Kelly, the Hall of Fame quarterback who played for the Buffalo Bills until 1996, is one of the greatest football players that I have ever seen. During his football career, I followed him closely and was always in awe of his athletic abilities, his leadership qualities and his love of family. Unfortunately, Jim Kelly is currently battling a second recurrence of oral cancer and has been scheduled to undergo surgery in an attempt to control the disease. His wife, Jill, told the Associated Press that her 54-year-old husband’s cancer is aggressive and beginning to spread. I’ve been following Jim Kelly’s health struggles and have been thinking about him, praying that he gets better. It is easy to think of some humans as immortal – especially when you’re looking at an individual as physically fit as Jim Kelly. But we tend to forget that sometimes nature has a unique plan for all of us. However, Jim Kelly’s struggles can serve as a reminder for us all to be vigilant about our health. Jim Kelly is suffering from oral cancer, which doesn’t get the attention that it deserves, despite the fact that 42,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2014, according to the National Cancer Institute. Oral cancers are any cancers occurring in the oral cavity, which starts in your throat and extends all the way to your lips. The sad part about this disease is that oral cancers are typically not identified early, which [...]

Beaumont Researchers: biomarkers predict effectiveness of radiation treatments for head and neck cancer

Source: Author: staff An international team of researchers, led by Beaumont Health System’s Jan Akervall, M.D., Ph.D., looked at biomarkers to determine the effectiveness of radiation treatments for patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck. They identified two markers that were good at predicting a patient’s resistance to radiation therapy. Their findings were published in the February issue of the European Journal of Cancer. Explains Dr. Akervall, co-director, Head and Neck Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, and clinical director of Beaumont’s BioBank, “Radiation therapy is a common treatment for people with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck. However, it’s not always well-tolerated. It can take two months, resulting in lots of side effects. Some of these complications are permanent. Before my patient goes down that path, I really want to know if their tumors are going to respond to radiation. That’s where the patient’s biomarkers can shed some light. If not, we can look at other treatment options - saving time, possible risk for complications and expense.” A biomarker is a gene or a set of genes or its products, RNA and proteins, that researchers use to predict a key clinical issue such as diagnosis, prognosis, and response to treatment, choice of treatment or recurrence. Biomarker studies can provide a bridge between emerging molecular information and clinical treatment. Biomarkers may also lead to personalized treatment, in contrast to protocol-based medicine of today. “Personalized treatment decisions based on biomarkers go beyond traditional cancer [...]

Anti-seizure medications prevent cancer

Source: Author: Lindsey Alexander A recent report came out from the journal Cancer indicating a new finding that anti-seizure medications might prevent some forms of cancer. Drugs like valporic acid (Depakote), are one form of prescription in this classification. Though also used as a mood-stabilizer, Depakote can prevent seizures from occurring, and has been investigated for cancer prevention. These particular anti-seizure medications have been found to inhibit genetic changes that lead to cancer of the head and neck. The study included nearly 440,000 veterans, including 27,000 who were taking valporic acid for various disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, seizures, and migraines. The overall findings suggested that veterans who were on the prescription were 34 percent less likely to develop cancers of the head and neck, than those who were not taking the drug. The risk decreased in those subjects who took higher doses or for longer periods of time. Dr. Johann Brandes with Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center was the team leader of this study. He claims that this 34 percent statistic means 16,000 new cases, and between 3,000 and 4,000 cancer deaths can be prevented every year. Though there is a strong association, the study did not form a direct cause-and-effect relationship between cancer prevention and anti-seizure medications. The National Cancer Institute describes cancers of the neck and head as usually squamous cell cancers that line mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck. This can affect the mouth, the throat, and the nose. This is a [...]

Archaeologists discover human remains that provide earliest complete example of a human with cancer

Source : Durham UniversityAuthor: Staff & Students  Archaeologists have found the oldest complete example in the world of a human with metastatic cancer in a 3,000 year-old skeleton. The findings are reported in the academic journal PLOS ONE today (17 March). The skeleton of the young adult male was found by a Durham University PhD student in a tomb in modern Sudan in 2013 and dates back to 1200BC. Analysis has revealed evidence of metastatic carcinoma, cancer which has spread to other parts of the body from where it started, from a malignant soft-tissue tumour spread across large areas of the body, making it the oldest convincing complete example of metastatic cancer in the archaeological record. The researchers from Durham University and the British Museum say the discovery will help to explore underlying causes of cancer in ancient populations and provide insights into the evolution of cancer in the past. Ancient DNA analysis of skeletons and mummies with evidence of cancer can be used to detect mutations in specific genes that are known to be associated with particular types of cancer. Even though cancer is one of the world's leading causes of death today, it remains almost absent from the archaeological record compared to other pathological conditions, giving rise to the conclusion that the disease is mainly a product of modern living and increased longevity. These findings suggest that cancer is not only a modern disease but was already present in the Nile Valley in ancient times. Lead author, Michaela Binder, a [...]

2014-03-27T15:32:05-07:00March, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Unilateral radiation benefited patients with advanced tonsil cancer

Source: Author: staff Unilateral radiotherapy was associated with effective regional control in patients with advanced tonsil cancer, according to study results presented at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium. Additionally, the results supported previous findings that suggest the primary tumor location, not the extent of ipsilateral neck lymph node involvement on the tumor side of the neck, governs the disease risk in the contralateral side of the neck. Researchers evaluated 153 consecutive patients diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil who were treated with surgical removal and postoperative intensity-modulated radiation therapy. Forty-six of the patients underwent unilateral radiotherapy. Of these patients, 72% were male. The average patient age was 59 years. Current or former smokers comprised 61% of the study population. Lateralized primary tumors were confirmed in 40 (87%) of the patients. Two (4%) patients had non-lateralized tumors. Lateralization could not be retrospectively ascertained in four patients (9%). The cancer stages for these patients were distributed as follows: TX, 2%; T1, 44%; T2, 41%; and T3, 13%. Lymph node involvement stages were as follows: N0, 11%; N1, 13%; and N2, 76%. The patients underwent radiation doses of 60 Gy to 66 Gy to the postoperative bed and involved neck, and 52 Gy to 54 Gy to the elective region in 30 to 33 fractions using a simultaneous integrated boost technique. Concurrent chemotherapy was administered to 30 of the 46 patients. The median follow-up period was 2.8 years (range, 0.4-8.7 years). Researchers reported no local or regional [...]

New study shows a rise in smokeless tobacco sales, especially among youth

Source: UMass Medical School Communications ( Sandra Gray  The number of smokeless tobacco products sold in Massachusetts is soaring, as are the levels of nicotine packed into many of them, according to a new analysis from UMass Medical School and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). “Nationwide, cigarette smoking control has been very successful and we have experienced a steady decline, but that success is being offset by the increased use of smokeless tobacco products, especially by youth,” said UMMS statistical scientist Wenjun Li, PhD. Dr. Li, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, co-authored the paper with colleagues from the DPH. Published in the journal Tobacco Control, the study examines ten years of product data (from 2003 to 2012) that Massachusetts law requires tobacco manufacturers provide to the DPH. Notable findings include a nearly 30 percent increase in the number of moist snuff products and a nearly sixfold increase in the number of snus products sold in Massachusetts; these increases correlate with rising use among high school students. Nationwide, more than one in eight males in the 12th grade uses smokeless tobacco. In Massachusetts, use among high school students has more than doubled since 2001. A wide variety of smokeless tobacco products on the market include newer inventions like dissolvable lozenges, snus and moist snuff, many of them flavored and colorfully packaged to appeal to youth, along with more traditional forms used by adults including chewing tobacco and dry snuff. Researchers were particularly interested in unionized, or [...]

2014-03-24T14:56:03-07:00March, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Humidifying mouth, throat during radiotherapy cuts mucositis

Source: Author: staff Head and neck cancer (HNC) patients who received daily humidification of the mouth and throat during radiation therapy treatment spent nearly 50% fewer days hospitalized to manage their side effects, such as mucositis, according to research presented at the recent Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ. Mucositis, inflammation and ulceration of the mouth and throat, is a painful side effect of radiation therapy that can negatively affect patients' quality of life. Using humidification is based on the fact that moisturizing wounds generally helps them heal faster, according to the researchers. The study by the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) evaluated 210 HNC patients in New Zealand and Australia from June 2007 to June 2011. Patients in the phase III trial were randomized to institutional standard of care (control group) or humidification. The humidified air was delivered through the nose via a plastic interface (mask-type apparatus) that can be worn by patients while sleeping or sitting. Patients began humidification on the first day of radiation therapy and continued until the ulceration in their mouth and throat had resolved. On average, humidification patients spent 57% as many days in the hospital to manage side effects, compared with the controls (control = 4.1 days, humidification = 2.3 days). The humidifier group also resumed close-to-normal eating patterns at significantly higher rates three months after radiotherapy. Only 43 patients (42%) of the patients in the humidification group met the defined benchmark of humidification compliance and were able [...]

App for cancer patients puts rehabilitation at their fingertips

Source: Author: staff A new app will make therapy more accessible for survivors of head and neck cancers. Developed at the Misericordia hospital and the University of Alberta, the portable swallowing therapy unit will help patients with swallowing impairments complete their rehab in the comfort of their own home. Video available here. The technology will help patients understand what their muscles are doing while they swallow. The app will take two years to develop and test, and the Alberta Cancer Foundation has agreed to fund it – $1.9 million over the next five years. Dr. Jana Rieger, the lead researcher on the project, said it will give patients more independence in their rehabilitation, in contrast to traditional therapy. Traditional swallowing therapy requires patients come to the hospital three to four times a week to use the large rehabilitation equipment. “What ends up happening is probably only about 10 per cent of patients who could benefit from this type of therapy actually come in and get it,” said Rieger. “There’s lots of people out there living with swallowing disorders that we aren’t getting to as clinicians.” The app is combined with an adhesive sensor under the jaw and a pendant that rests on the patient’s chest. The pendant speaks wirelessly to the app and it can send the patient’s data to health-care professionals anywhere in the province. The technology has a few settings that the patient can set to motivate them to complete the therapy. “Things like progress bars, goal-setting, [...]

Experimental EGFR inhibitor added nothing but rash

Source: Author: Neil Osterweil, Oncology Report Digital Network The addition of the experimental targeted agent zalutumumab to primary curative chemoradiation for head and neck cancers did not improve locoregional control, disease-specific survival, or overall survival at 3 years of follow-up. The only thing that zalutumumab added to therapy was a skin rash in the large majority of patients who received it, reported Dr. Jens Overgaard, of the department of experimental clinical oncology at Aarhus University, Denmark. Response to zalutumumab, a monoclonal antibody targeted to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), was not related to tumor human papillomavirus 16 (HPV/p16) status or to chemoradiotherapy, Dr. Overgaard reported at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium. The results of the DAHANCA 19 trial echo those of the RTOG (Radiation Oncology Therapy Group) trial 0522, which found no benefit from the addition of the EGFR inhibitor cetuximab (Erbitux) to accelerated cisplatin-based chemoradiotherapy, said Dr. Paul Harari, an invited discussant from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Where I think we have a lot of unanswered questions is acknowledging how little we actually understand about EGFR biology, despite now 40 years of progressive knowledge," Dr. Harari said. "We’re now seeing very clearly in molecular and clinical correlate studies that the more we suppress the EGFR, the more we see collateral overexpression of additional RTKs [receptor tyrosine kinases], including members of the HER family, such as HER-3, that enable an escape mechanism for tumors that become resistant to EGFR inhibition," he said. Dr. Overgaard and [...]

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