How much does drinking alcohol contribute to US cancer burden?

Source: Author: Kristin Jenkins The first study to estimate the alcohol-related cancer burden on a state-by-state basis provides more evidence that the drinking habits of Americans account for a "considerable" proportion of cancer diagnoses and deaths, researchers say. "In the United States, on average, alcohol consumption accounts for 4.8% of cancer cases and 3.2% of cancer deaths," concludes Farhad Islami, MD, PhD, of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and colleagues. However, the proportion was higher for specific cancer types, with alcohol consumption accounting for an estimated 12.1% of female breast cancers, 11.1% of colorectal, 10.5% of liver, and 7.7% of esophageal cancers, the study showed. In addition, in 46 states, alcohol accounted for ≥ 45% of oral cavity/pharyngeal and ≥ 25% of laryngeal cancer diagnoses. The study was published online January 19 in Cancer Epidemiology. "Implementing state-level policies and cancer control efforts to reduce alcohol consumption could reduce this cancer burden," the researchers comment. They noted that restrictive policies on alcohol sales are associated with a reduction in cancer mortality rates and that a recent study showed increasing alcohol controls by 10% was associated with an 8.3% relative decrease in the oropharyngeal cancer mortality rate. Separating Drinking From Smoking The study is also one of a growing number to evaluate alcohol consumption and cancer risk in nonsmokers, said Mary Beth Terry, PhD, professor of epidemiology at Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City, when approached for comment. "This is important because the much larger effects of [...]

University of Cincinnati research unveils possible new combo therapy for head and neck cancer

Source: Author: Research News, University of Cincinnati Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, and while effective treatments exist, sadly, the cancer often returns. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have tested a new combination therapy in animal models to see if they could find a way to make an already effective treatment even better. Since they're using a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug to do it, this could help humans sooner than later. These findings are published in the journal Cancer Letters. Christina Wicker, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Vinita Takiar, MD, PhD, led this research which she says will hopefully extend the lives of patients one day. "Head and neck cancer, like any cancer, is truly life-altering," she says. "Head and neck cancer could impact your throat, tongue or nose, and patients often can't swallow, talk or eat; it truly takes away some of the most social, enjoyable parts of life." Researchers in this study combined radiation therapy with a drug (telaglenastat) that stops a key enzyme in a cell pathway that becomes altered in cancer cells, causing those cells to grow rapidly and resist treatment. Wicker says this drug has already been studied in multiple clinical trials to see if it could improve treatment of various cancers. "Until now, no one has examined if this drug has the potential to improve radiation treatment in head and neck cancer. Most importantly, this drug compound has been well tolerated by patients [...]

Research applies Raman spectroscopy to oral cancer diagnostics

Source: Author: staff According to research from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Raman spectroscopy may provide early detection of oral squamous cell carcinoma. One of the most common cancers, oral squamous cell carcinoma is often undetected until a late stage. Currently, clinically apparent, conspicuous mucosal lesions of the oral cavity require initial conservative treatment and monitoring. If they persist, surgical biopsy is used to make a diagnosis. “Our study shows the potential of Raman spectroscopy for revealing whether a lesion is cancerous in real time,” said research team leader Levi Matthies. “Although it won’t replace biopsies any time soon, the technique could help reduce the lapse of valuable time as well as the number of invasive procedures.” The researchers used a variation of Raman spectroscopy known as SERDS (shifted excitation Raman difference spectroscopy), which is capable of analyzing tissues that exhibit strong background fluorescence. To test the method, they designed a compact and portable Raman sensor consisting of a tunable diode laser, a fiber-coupled spectrometer, and a Raman probe. The scientists used the device to analyze unlabeled biopsy samples from 37 patients at 180 measurement locations. To classify the raw data, the team trained and tested computer models, ultimately distinguishing oral squamous cell carcinoma from nonmalignant lesions with an accuracy of over 88%, and from healthy tissue with an accuracy of over 89%. The majority of spectral features used to distinguish malignant and nonmalignant lesions came from protein and nucleic acid molecules. “Our results show that this approach is [...]

Top cancer surgeon urges public to get mouth ulcers checked

Source: Author: staff A top cancer surgeon is calling on people with mouth ulcers and neck lumps to get their symptoms checked. This follows fears from dentists that mouth cancer cases may have gone undetected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the fact that a new international study suggests patients undergoing surgery for head and neck cancers are at no extra risk when it comes to COVID-19 transmission. Professor Richard Shaw is a consultant and head and neck cancer surgeon at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is calling on the public to act fast if they notice any symptoms. These include neck lumps, mouth ulcers, mouth or throat lumps, difficulty swallowing and a hoarse voice. Don’t delay ‘We know that it can be scary to come to a hospital or any healthcare setting at the moment. People are putting off that trip to the GP and waiting that bit longer to see if their symptoms go away,’ he said. ‘The findings of this study are really important because we can now assure people who need head and neck cancer surgery that it is safe, even during the pandemic.’ He added: ‘Time is of the essence with head and neck cancer. The sooner it is diagnosed the sooner we can treat it – and if we catch it early then the curative surgery required is much less invasive. ‘My message to anyone concerned about symptoms is to get them looked at by a health professional without [...]

Timing and intensity of oral sex may affect risk of oropharyngeal cancer

Source: Author: Research News Human papillomavirus (HPV) can infect the mouth and throat to cause cancers of the oropharynx. A new study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, has found that having more than 10 prior oral sex partners was associated with a 4.3-times greater likelihood of having HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. The study also shows that having oral sex at a younger age and more partners in a shorter time period (oral sex intensity) were associated with higher likelihoods of having HPV-related cancer of the mouth and throat. Previous studies have shown that performing oral sex is a strong risk factor for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. To examine how behavior related to oral sex may affect risk, Virginia Drake, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, and her colleagues asked 163 individuals with and 345 without HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer to complete a behavioral survey. In addition to timing and intensity of oral sex, individuals who had older sexual partners when they were young, and those with partners who had extramarital sex were more likely to have HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. "Our study builds on previous research to demonstrate that it is not only the number of oral sexual partners, but also other factors not previously appreciated that contribute to the risk of exposure to HPV orally and subsequent HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer," said Dr. Drake. "As the incidence of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer continues to rise in the United States, our study offers a contemporary evaluation of risk [...]

Factors identified for poor long-term survival in RT-treated patients with oropharyngeal cancer

Source: Author: Susan Moench, PhD, PA-C Specific patient- and treatment-related factors were identified as potential survival detriments for patients with a history of oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) who received radiation therapy (RT) and were alive for at least 5 years following diagnosis, according to findings from a retrospective database review published in Cancer. Specifically, older age at diagnosis (≥55 years; standardized mortality ratio [SMR], 3.68), status as a current or former smoker (SMR, 3.28 vs 7.43), and the presence of tonsil (SMR, 4.39) or base of tongue tumors (SMR, 3.10) or category T4 tumors (SMR, 5.43) correlated with a higher risk for death. Previous research has demonstrated that patients with head and neck cancers who remain recurrence-free for 5 years following diagnosis have a very low risk of disease recurrence. However, less is known about the conditional long-term survival of this group of patients, represented by the 2-, 5- and 10-year overall survival (OS) probabilities for those without evidence of disease recurrence 5-years post-diagnosis. Furthermore, patient, disease-, and treatment-related factors associated with long-term survival in these patients are also not well understood. Of the 1699 patients included in this analysis, all were newly diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma OPC between 1980 and 2012, had no cancer event for the 5 years that followed OPC diagnosis, and had been treated with RT without surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Baseline characteristics of this patient cohort included a median age of 60 years. Most of [...]

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