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So far Charlotte Parker has created 2906 blog entries.

New MSK Radiation Approach Means Fewer Side Effects for More Patients with HPV-Related Oral Cancer

Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Date: January 20th, 2022 Robert Rosenfeld thought the lump he felt in his neck in late 2018 was just a symptom of a cold that wouldn’t go away. He visited an ear, nose, and throat specialist who saw nothing upon first examination, but Robert knew something was wrong and asked for a CT scan. The specialist called him with the bad news: It was almost certainly cancer. A biopsy confirmed he had stage 2 cancer at the base of his tongue (classified as oral cancer) and 2 nearby lymph nodes. The tumor was positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV). Robert, then a 69-year-old car salesman on Long Island, met with cancer doctors near his hometown of Hauppauge, New York, to learn about treatment options. He realized he faced a tough road: Standard treatment would be 7 weeks of radiation, during which he also would receive 3 rounds of chemotherapy. The standard radiation dose would likely cause mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth (from damage to salivary glands), loss of taste, and nausea. Robert wanted a second opinion, and his medical oncologist strongly recommended Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. When Robert called, he was able to get in to see radiation oncologist C. Jillian Tsai the very next day. “When I met Dr. Tsai, she was amazing,” Robert says. “She told me what I was up against but also that the cancer I had was curable.” There was another major plus: Dr. Tsai was able [...]

2022-01-20T13:36:01-07:00January, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

I know how lobbyists make sure Americans don’t get dental care–I was one of them

Source: Fortune Date: November 19th, 2021 Author: Wendell Potter As Members of Congress continue their debate on the Build Back Better Act, it’s distressing to see House Democrats ignoring what Americans say they want most out of the legislation: adding dental coverage to Medicare. If the dental benefit isn’t put back into the bill, lawmakers will have shown once again that they listen more to two powerful trade groups in Washington–America’s Health Insurance Plans(AHIP) and the American Dental Association (ADA)–than to their constituents. As someone who has been on both sides, writing talking points for insurers and, more recently, fighting the ADA’s efforts to kill other bills to expand access to dental care, I know these organizations well. And they usually get their way. A recent Morning Consult poll found that the number one thing Americans say they want out of the reconciliation bill is Medicare dental coverage. That’s no surprise when you consider that millions of seniors lack dental coverage. Many suffer quietly with often excruciating pain caused by untreated–and often lethal–oral health disease. The main reason Medicare hasn’t covered dental care since its inception in 1965 (except when oral health problems become so severe they require hospitalization) is that organized dentistry staunchly opposed it. The dental lobby insists that any additional dental coverage should be restricted to the poorest Medicaid recipients. However, its main concern–as it was 56 years ago–is that Medicare would not reimburse dentists to their satisfaction. The ADA’s lobbyists, in essence, are placing the financial [...]

2021-12-21T12:29:10-07:00December, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

The HPV Vaccine Prevents Cancer, but Most Kids Don’t Receive It

Source: The New York Times Date: December 13th, 2021 Author: Jane E. Brody Cover image courtesy of The New York Times The human papillomavirus vaccine can prevent six potentially lethal malignancies, but inoculation is meeting with rising resistance from parents. Vaccine hesitancy is hardly limited to shots against Covid-19. Even the HPV vaccine, which can prevent as many as 90 percent of six potentially lethal cancers, is meeting with rising resistance from parents who must give their approval before their adolescent children can receive it. The Food and Drug Administration licensed this lifesaving vaccine in 2006 to protect against sexually transmitted infection by HPV, the human papillomavirus. Most of us will get infected with HPV during our lifetimes, certain strains of which can lead to cancers of the cervix, vagina and vulva in women; cancers of the anus and back-of-the-throat in both women and men; and penile cancer in men. HPV can also cause genital warts. But the vaccine only works if it’s administered before people become infected by the virus. And that often means getting vaccinated before teens and young adults have any form of sexual activity, including oral sex and skin-to-skin contact without penetration. More than half of adolescents ages 15 to 19 report having had oral sex, and one in 10 say they have had anal sex. Unless they are vaccinated, more than 80 percent of women become infected with HPV by age 50. And while most infections clear on their own, enough persist to cause many [...]

2021-12-17T11:53:24-07:00December, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Mayo Clinic researchers find new treatment for HPV-associated oral cancer

Author: MAYO Clinic Source: EurekAlert!   ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic researchers have found that a new, shorter treatment for patients with HPV-associated oropharynx cancer leads to excellent disease control and fewer side effects, compared to standard treatment. The new treatment employs minimally invasive surgery and half the standard dose of radiation therapy, compared to current treatments. The new treatment also lasts for two weeks, rather than the standard six weeks. Results of a study of the new treatment were presented Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's Annual Meeting. "Throat cancer caused by HPV is one of the fastest-growing cancer types in the United States," says Daniel J. Ma, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic and the study's author. Dr. Ma says that while the standard treatment for this type of cancer leads to high cure rates, it may also result in many short-term and long-term treatment toxicities, including dry mouth, problems swallowing, neck stiffness and jawbone problems. "Many of these side effects are directly linked to the amount of radiation used for treatment," says Dr. Ma. Dr. Ma and his colleagues developed an initial clinical trial looking at a new treatment using minimally invasive surgery and half the standard dose of radiation. The initial clinical trial demonstrated that well-selected patients could have excellent disease control with much lower toxicity using the new treatment. "Our findings suggest that in select patients with HPV-associated oropharynx a shorter course treatment, compared to the standard of care, yields a similar [...]

2021-12-08T13:54:50-07:00December, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

When A Dentist Dies from Oral Cancer

Date: December 2nd, 2021 Authors: Dr. Parul Dua Makkar & Dr. Sanjukta Mohanta Source: Dentistry Today Featured Image courtesy of Dentistry Today: Dr. Manu Dua Dr. Manu Dua, a dentist practicing in Calgary, Alberta, discovered a lesion on his tongue around his 33rd birthday. He showed a photo of it to his sister, Parul, who is a dentist practicing in New York. “Get it biopsied,” she pleaded. He replied, “It can’t be cancer. I’m too young.” Less than 2 years later, Dr. Manu Dua died from oral cancer.  He was 34. Manu had no risk factors for oral cancer.  He was young and didn’t smoke. He only had an occasional drink. He was athletic and had a healthy diet.  No one would suspect that the lesion on his tongue was cancer, not even him, not even the oral surgeon who thought it was lichen planus and prescribed him a steroid. His symptoms worsened: trouble speaking, pain on eating, and difficulty sleeping. Then came the devastating biopsy result – Stage 2 squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. The cancer was treated by removing the left half of Manu’s tongue and the lymph nodes from the left side of his neck. His tongue was repaired using the radial artery from his left arm and skin from his right thigh. He had to learn to speak, chew and swallow again. He recovered quickly and returned to the dental office that he recently opened. Less than a year later, he noticed swelling on the left [...]

2021-12-06T12:39:42-07:00December, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

HPV-associated head and neck cancer blood test shows promise as a test to replace tissue biopsy

Date: December 2nd, 2021 Author: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Source: MedicalXpress Featured Image Courtesy of Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary: Daniel L. Faden, MD, a head and neck surgical oncologist and investigator in the Mike Toth Head and Neck Cancer Research Center at Mass Eye and Ear, and assistant professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at Harvard Medical School. Credit: Mass Eye and Ear   Researchers at Mass Eye and Ear and Mass General Hospital have developed a blood test, or liquid biopsy, for head and neck cancer associated with the human papilloma virus (HPV) that was shown in a new study to be more accurate, faster and cheaper than conventional testing methods. In the study, published December 2 in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, liquid biopsy was more than 98 percent accurate and obtained a diagnosis 26 days quicker on average than conventional tissue biopsy. The cost of the novel test was 38 percent lower than standard methods. When the researchers combined the liquid biopsy with findings from routine imaging and physical exam to create a fully non-invasive diagnostic approach, diagnostic accuracy remained greater than 95 percent. With HPV-associated head and neck cancer rates on the rise, there is a great need for more accurate, less-invasive, faster and less expensive diagnostic tests, according to authors of the study. "Current diagnostic approaches for HPV-associated head and neck cancers are imperfect and invasive, which means patients often need repeat biopsies to get to [...]

2021-12-06T11:31:49-07:00December, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Treatment Paradigms Are Shifting for Locally Advanced HPV-Positive Head and Neck Cancers

Date: November 18th, 2021 Authors: Kaveh Zakeri, MD, MAS, Nancy Y. Lee, MD Source: OncLive The standard of care for patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinomas does not substantially differ according to human papillomavirus (HPV) status in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.1 Resectable tumors can be treated with surgery followed by adjuvant therapy. Alternatively, definitive chemoradiation therapy with cisplatin is the other dominant treatment paradigm. Incidence of HPV-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma has increased rapidly and is associated with higher overall survival (OS) compared with cancers caused by smoking and alcohol.2,3 Given the unique biology of HPV-associated oropharyngeal disease, a separate staging system was developed for these tumors.4 HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers are more radiosensitive and chemosensitive than cancers caused by smoking and alcohol, yet the traditional treatment paradigms—including high doses of radiation and chemotherapy—were developed prior to the epidemic of HPV-associated disease. De-escalation of therapy has been proposed for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer based on data demonstrating high OS and progression-free survival (PFS).5 De-escalation of therapy has been investigated for both definitive surgical and chemoradiation therapy paradigms. Most de-escalated approaches focus on selecting patients according to clinical features, such as disease stage and smoking status, whereas personalized de-escalation reduces treatment intensity for patients according to treatment response. Transoral Robotic Surgery Followed by Adjuvant Radiotherapy Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) is a minimally invasive approach that reduces morbidity compared with traditional, open surgery for patients with oropharyngeal cancers. TORS is a standard of care option for patients with [...]

2021-12-06T11:00:39-07:00December, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Shades of Big Tobacco: How (and why) Juul bought an entire issue of a scientific journal

Source: Salon Date: July 20th, 2021 Author: Jon Skolnik   Facing the imminent threat of corporate death, the embattled e-cigarette maker Juul is pulling out all the stops in its fight to convince the Food and Drug Administration that its vaping products are more beneficial than harmful. If that sounds like a stretch, it probably is. Last month, Juul settled a $40 million lawsuit that accused the company of luring in teens to use its flavored vape products, allowing Juul to avoid the potential PR nightmare of a widely covered jury trial. Juul has also spent tens of millions in federal lobbying efforts over the past several years, presumably in an effort to block comprehensive regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes. But the most bizarre Juul news came two weeks ago, when the New York Times reported that the company had funded an entire issue of a scientific journal, in which every article presented evidence that vaping is a beneficial harm-reduction practice that can wean smokers off tobacco cigarettes. Last month, the American Journal of Health and Behavior (AJHB), a 44-year-old academic journal that has published many nationally recognized scholars, released a special edition specifically devoted to the question of whether e-cigarettes are harmful or helpful. The 219-page issue is unusual not just by virtue of its niche subject matter — e-cigarettes are a relatively new phenomenon in the field of health behavior — but also because its publication was bankrolled entirely by one source: Juul Labs. This fraught episode comes at an exceptionally tumultuous time for the vape maker. In early 2019, Juul, a company founded just four [...]

2021-07-20T13:15:56-07:00July, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

How Big Pharma Finds Sick Users on Facebook

Source: The MarkUp Date: May 6th, 2021 Author: Colin Lecher If you’re a drug manufacturer looking for patients, one company has become a major destination in the past few years: Facebook. The social media giant, through its power to target users based on their interests, is especially attractive to pharmaceutical companies looking to sell drugs to potential patients. The Washington Post reported last year that health and pharmaceutical companies spent almost $1 billion on just Facebook mobile ads in 2019. The draw? Unlike a traditional TV or radio ad, Facebook’s ad categories help those companies target their drug ads at users who likely suffer from a specific illness the drug treats. And data from The Markup’s Citizen Browser project—which collects Facebook data from thousands of users—shows how precise and wide-ranging that targeting is. Though Facebook does not offer advertisers categories that explicitly identify people’s health conditions, The Markup identified dozens of ads for prescription pharmaceuticals targeted at people with “interests” in topics like “bourbon,” “oxygen,” and “Diabetes mellitus awareness.” Indeed, The Markup found, “awareness” of a disease is a frequent proxy for illness in targeting decisions made by advertisers. Zejula, a drug manufactured by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, for example, is prescribed to treat advanced ovarian cancer. We found the drug targeted at users who Facebook determined had shown an interest in “cancer awareness.” Piqray, another cancer treatment, manufactured by Swiss company Novartis, was shown to users with an interest in “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” Several drugs were targeted at either [...]

2021-05-07T10:54:17-07:00May, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Genetic changes in head and neck cancer, immunotherapy resistance identified

Source: MedicalXPress Date: April 26th, 2021 Author: University of San Diego-California A multi-institutional team of researchers has identified both the genetic abnormalities that drive pre-cancer cells into becoming an invasive type of head and neck cancer and patients who are least likely to respond to immunotherapy. "Through a series of surprises, we followed clues that focused more and more tightly on specific genetic imbalances and their role in the effects of specific immune components in tumor development," said co-principal investigator Webster Cavenee, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. "The genetic abnormalities we identified drive changes in the immune cell composition of the tumors that, in turn, dictates responsiveness to standard of care immune checkpoint inhibitors." Reporting in the April 26, 2021 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe the role of somatic copy-number alterations—abnormalities that result in the loss or gain in a copy of a gene—and the loss of chromosome 9p in the development of human papillomavirus (HPV)-negative head and neck cancer. The loss of chromosome 9p and the deletion of JAK2 and PD-LI, two neighboring genes found on chromosome 9p, was associated with resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of cancer immunotherapy that uses antibodies to make tumor cells visible to a patient's immune system. "Although programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitors represent a major breakthrough in cancer treatment, only 15 percent of patients with HPV-negative head and neck cancer respond to treatment," said [...]

2021-04-27T10:01:12-07:00April, 2021|Oral Cancer News|
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