Rocky Mountain Oncology Center to offer free head, neck cancer screening

Author: Klark Byrd Source: CASPER, Wyo. — Rocky Mountain Oncology Center is offering the public a no-cost head and neck cancer screening this summer. From 2 to 4 p.m. on June 25, the center will be open to the public in an effort to promote early detection of head and neck cancers. Screenings will take place at Rocky Mountain Oncology Center, 6501 E. 2nd St. In collaboration with local ENTs, dentists and oral surgeons, no-cost head and neck cancer screenings will be done for anyone with a lump in the neck, a sore in the mouth, a throat that does not heal and may be painful, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice, a news release about the event states. No appointment is necessary.  

2022-05-25T12:18:46-07:00May, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Revolutionary cancer tool can halve time some patients need radiotherapy

Source: Author: Joe Pinkstone, Daily Telegraph UK A revolutionary cancer tool that can halve the time some patients need to be subjected to radiotherapy has been developed by British experts and is 99.9 per cent accurate. Head and neck cancers are notoriously tricky to tackle as the tumour and the patient's face often change shape during treatment due to significant weight loss. More than 12,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with head or neck cancer every year and the treatment involves being blasted with radiation to shrink a tumour while the patient lies motionless inside a mask that protects healthy tissue. "When I started training, we basically laid someone down on the bed, put a plastic mask on them and took some X-rays from the front and the side," Prof Kevin Harrington, head of radiotherapy and imaging at the Institute of Cancer Research and a consultant oncologist, told The Telegraph. "We would then blast away at them every day for six or seven weeks, treating the same area irrespective of the fact that during the treatment the patient would lose up to 10 per cent of their body weight. "Their body would shrink, the shape of the area we were radiating would shrink and as they subsided and lost weight the position of their head would slightly change and we wouldn't adjust one iota to that, we just carried on the way we were." In an ideal world, Harrington said, scans would be done every day to create [...]

Gabapentin may cut opioid needs for oral mucositis pain during radiotherapy

Source: Author: staff For patients receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, higher doses of gabapentin are well tolerated and associated with delayed time to first opioid use for additional pain control during radiotherapy (RT), according to a research letter published online May 18 in JAMA Network Open. Sung Jun Ma, M.D., from the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, and colleagues performed a secondary analysis of two clinical trials involving 92 patients receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy for nonmetastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and prophylactic oral gabapentin (titrated to 900 mg versus 2,700 mg daily in one study and 3,600 mg daily in the other study). The researchers found that most patients tolerated gabapentin per protocol. The time to first opioid use for additional pain control was greatest in the 3,600-mg cohort in the multivariable competing risks model. The smallest proportion of patients requiring opioids during RT was seen in the 3,600-mg cohort compared with the 900-mg and 2,700-mg cohorts (37.5, 93.1, and 61.3 percent, respectively). Compared with the 3,600-mg cohort, the odds of feeding tube placement were significantly greater during RT in the 2,700-mg cohort; the odds were not significantly greater in the 900-mg cohort. "Although gabapentin, 3,600 mg, daily has been adopted as the standard regimen of the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, additional studies are warranted to further investigate its role in pain control," the authors write.

Yale doc: Throat, neck cancers caused by HPV ‘completely preventable’ with vaccine

Author: Ed Stannard Source: NEW HAVEN — While it’s become widely known that the human papilloma virus causes cervical cancer, doctors have more recently discovered HPV is associated with another form of cancer. While cancer of the throat, back of the tongue, tonsils and soft palate (the location of the uvula), known as oropharyngeal cancer, can be caused by smoking or heavy drinking, HPV also has been linked to it, according to Dr. Saral Mehra, section chief for head and neck and otolaryngology surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. “This didn’t exist as far as we knew 20 or 30 years ago,” Mehra said, but it became clear that younger people who didn’t smoke or drink could get this type of cancer. That is why, Mehra said, it is important for all young people to receive the HPV vaccination. “If there’s one message I think we need to get out is we need to vaccinate all of our boys and girls,” he said. “I feel like head and neck cancer is such an important cancer and it’s not one of the big ones” that people think about, Mehra said. But surgery or radiation for these cancers “impacts so much of a person’s life: speaking, eating, drinking, cosmetic appearance,” Mehra said. “Head and neck cancer is typically thought of as a disease of people who smoke a lot and drink a lot,” Mehra said. “Not that everybody who has it has bad habits, but that is generally how it [...]

2022-05-23T11:16:01-07:00May, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

New discovery could help combat side effects of cancer immunotherapy

Source: Author: staff Researchers in Liverpool and the US have made a breakthrough that could lead to improved immunotherapy treatments for some cancer patients. Their findings, which have been published in Nature, provide critical clues to why many immunotherapies trigger dangerous side effects – and point to a better strategy for treating patients with solid tumours, such as head and neck cancers. The work was led by Professor Christian Ottensmeier, Professor of Immuno-Oncology at the University of Liverpool and a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and Professor Pandurangan Vijayanand at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California. Immunotherapy side effects While immunotherapy has revolutionised the world of cancer treatment, long term disease control is achieved in only around 20 to 30 percent of patients with solid cancers. Immunotherapy can also come at a cost as many patients develop serious problems in their lungs, bowel, and even skin during treatment. These side effects can be debilitating and may force physicians to stop the immunotherapy. When head and neck patients started showing adverse side effects during an immunotherapy trial sponsored and funded by Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development in a number of cancer centres across the UK, the researchers went back through the data and worked with patient samples to see what went wrong. The patients had been given an oral cancer immunotherapy called a PI3Kδ inhibitor, which are new to the cancer immunotherapy scene, but hold promise for their ability to inhibit “regulatory” T [...]

Treatment for HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer varies by facility type

Author: Mark Leiser Source: DALLAS — Treatment modality for HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma varied considerably by facility type, according to study results. The findings — presented at American Head & Neck Society Annual Meeting — showed academic hospitals more frequently utilized surgery instead of radiation therapy or chemoradiation therapy alone as the primary treatment modality for early- and late-stage cancers. The findings suggest a lack of standardized treatment regimens that prevent patients from receiving universal care independent of facility resources, Monica S. Trent, MD, first-year resident at University of California, Irvine, and colleagues concluded. “There are many different ways to treat HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and, in order to try to determine the best treatment option, it is important to know who is offering what types of treatment at different centers,” Trent told Healio. “Our results show patients are being treated differently depending on where they present, and treatment is not standardized across different types of facilities.” Background and methods HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is distinct from HPV-negative disease. It more frequently affects younger, healthier patients, and it is associated with improved prognosis and better historical survival outcomes after standard radiation and chemoradiation treatment protocols. The development of transoral robotic surgery offers an alternative upfront treatment option that could reduce short- and long-term morbidity without compromising oncologic outcomes, according to study background. However, due to the required resources and training needed for this modality, it has been offered primarily at academic medical centers. Trent and colleagues retrospectively [...]

2022-05-05T09:26:39-07:00May, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Gene mutations that contribute to head and neck cancer also provide ‘precision’ treatment targets

Source: Author: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University About one-fifth of often deadly head and neck cancers harbor genetic mutations in a pathway that is key to normal cell growth, and scientists report those mutations, which enable abnormal cancer cell growth, can also make the cancer vulnerable. Keys to targeting that vulnerability include individualized genomic analysis to identify a patient's specific mutation, and finding the drugs that directly target it, investigations that should be given more attention in cancer therapy development, they report in a review article in the journal NPJ Genomic Medicine. The MAPK pathway is a "signaling hub" for cells important to the usual development of the head and neck region, and activating key pathway constituents, like the genes MAPK1 and HRAS, is known to drive the growth of a variety of cancers, says Dr. Vivian Wai Yan Lui, molecular pharmacologist and translational scientist at the Georgia Cancer Center and Medical College of Georgia and the paper's corresponding author. But the mutations in the genes in the MAPK pathway that enable tumor growth can also make it sensitive to drug therapy, says Lui. While a lot of discovery is still needed to find more mutations in the MAPK pathway and the drugs that target them, Lui says they are among the most logical treatment targets for this tough-to-treat cancer. As she speaks, she is looking in her lab for drugs that kill head and neck primary tumors from patients, and at the genetics behind how they [...]

Rebuilding a jaw in a day

Source: Author: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Patients who lose a part of their jaw — whether from injury, infection, disease, or as a side effect of cancer treatment—can have the missing jawbone replaced through reconstruction. But most are left with a life-altering dilemma: Their new jaw is missing its teeth. That isn’t the case, however, for those treated by Cedars-Sinai’s “jaw-in-a-day” team. The team—a partnership between Cedars-Sinai and the Los Angeles Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery—is one of just a handful across the country performing a relatively new procedure where patients receive a jaw replacement complete with dental implants in one surgery. “People who have a traditional jaw reconstruction get a new jawbone, but it isn’t very functional,” said oral/maxillofacial surgeon Steven Kupferman, DMD, MD. “The jaw is meant to talk and chew, and without teeth, it can’t do those things as well.” A Tricky Reconstruction In the traditional jaw-replacement procedure—called fibula free flap surgery—the surgeon replaces the damaged jawbone with a section of bone cut from the fibula, the outer bone in the lower leg, which can be removed without compromising the patient’s ability to walk. It is possible for patients to have dental implants added to the jaw in a separate procedure, but head and neck surgeon Jon Mallen-St. Clair, MD, PhD, who has performed many fibula free flap procedures, said that rarely happens. “The patient may be worn out from going through that major reconstruction operation,” Mallen-St. Clair said. “And the oral surgeon could be worried [...]

Oral Cancer – Not just for smokers

Author: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc Source: Doctors diagnose about 50,000 new cases of oral cancer every year, and about 10,000 people with oral cancer die every year. Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer than women. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. We want to draw awareness to this terrible disease in hopes you will take action to prevent or catch it early with routine screenings and self-checks. While smoking and alcohol consumption increase your risk of oral cancer 15 times, having human papilloma virus (HPV) increases your risk by 30 times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly all sexually active adults will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives. Although cervical cancer is more closely associated with HPV, oral cancer can be caused by some types of HPV. Then again, 25% of oral cancer patients have no attributable risk factors. Prevention is key Like most cancers, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking greatly reduces your chances for getting oral cancer. Applying SPF lip balm can help protect you from lip cancer. Using condoms during sexual activity may reduce your risk of contracting HPV. Dr. Sandra Balmoria with CMH Family Care Center recently gave a talk on teen health and expressed the importance of the HPV vaccine. “The only vaccine we have for cancer is the HPV vaccine — Gardasil,” Balmoria said. “This vaccine is available in a two or three-part series for ages 11-45.” The vaccine is available for [...]

2022-04-26T12:52:21-07:00April, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Could blocking or deleting a protein help prevent common oral cancers?

Source: Author: Boston University The most common head and neck cancer—oral squamous cell carcinoma—often starts off, as many other cancers do, quite innocently. Perhaps as a little white patch in the mouth or a small red bump on the gums. Easy to ignore, to downplay. But then something changes, and the little blotch becomes more ominous, starts growing, burrowing into connective tissue. Patients who are lucky enough to see a dentist before things take a nasty turn have a shot at being able to prevent the lesions from turning cancerous—or can at least make sure treatment starts when it’s most effective. But for those who aren’t that lucky, the outlook can be bleak: the five-year survival rate of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is around 66 percent. More than 10,000 Americans die of oral cancer every year; smokers and drinkers are hardest hit. Now, researchers at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine have found that dialing back—or even genetically deleting—a protein that seems to spur the cancer’s growth might help limit a tumor’s development and spread. They say their findings make the protein, an enzyme called lysine-specific demethylase 1, a potential “druggable target”—something that doctors could aim chemo and immuno-oncology therapies at to take down a tumor. The study was published in February in Molecular Cancer Research. Given that at least one-third of Americans don’t visit a dentist regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the discovery could be a future lifesaver for [...]

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