Alcohol linked to 10% of cancer cases, study finds

Source: www.irishtimes.com
Author: Dr. Muiris Houston

Reducing alcohol intake would reduce the number of cancer cases in the Republic, the Irish Cancer Society has said.

It was responding to the results of a major European study, published online by the British Medical Journal, which found that up to one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women could be caused by drinking.

Researchers concluded that drinking above recommended alcohol limits was likely to be responsible for the majority of cancer cases linked to alcohol, although for some people even a small consumption may increase the risk.

They analysed data from eight European countries, involving more than 360,000 men and women who were aged between 35 and 70 at the beginning of the study. The research is part of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer, one of the largest ever studies into the links between diet and cancer.

Some 17 per cent of bowel cancers in men were linked to drinking, as were 4 per cent of cases in women. And 5 per cent of cases of breast cancer in women were also linked to drinking, the study showed. Overall, more than 18 per cent of cancers in men were down to drinking more than 24g of alcohol a day. In women, 4 per cent of cancers were due to drinking more than 12g of alcohol daily.

Naomi Allen, from Oxford University, one of the researchers, said: “This research supports existing evidence that alcohol causes cancer and that the risk increases even with drinking moderate amounts.

“The results from this study reflect the impact of people’s drinking habits about 10 years ago. People are drinking even more now, and this could lead to more people developing cancer because of alcohol in the future.”

Men and women in Germany, Denmark and the UK were most likely to exceed recommended alcohol intake guidelines, which also looked at people in France, Italy, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands.

Dr Sinéad Walsh, research officer with the society, said: “We recommend that to reduce the risk of developing cancer, people should try to avoid or limit their intake of alcohol. We recommend that, in line with the European Cancer Research Fund guidelines, men should have no more than two standard drinks per day and women no more than one standard drink.”

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, there is a causal link between alcohol consumption and cancers of the liver, female breast, bowel, and upper digestive tract. Alcohol also plays a role in the development of oral cancers, including cancer of the pharynx and larynx.

However, until now, data had not been available on the number of cancer cases linked to total alcohol consumption or the proportion of cases caused by alcohol consumption beyond the recommended upper limit. When broken down by the body, alcohol produces a chemical that can damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer.

April, 2011|Oral Cancer News|

Oral sex now main cause of oral cancer: Who faces biggest risk?

Source: www.cbsnews.com
Author: David W Freeman

What’s the leading cause of oral cancer? Smoking? Heavy drinking?

Actually, it’s oral sex.

Scientists say that 64 percent of cancers of the oral cavity, head, and neck in the U.S. are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is commonly spread via oral sex, NPR reported. The more oral sex you have – and the more oral sex partners you have – the greater the risk of developing these potentially deadly cancers.

“An individual who has six or more lifetime partners – on whom they’ve performed oral sex – has an eightfold increase in risk compared to someone who has never performed oral sex, Ohio University’s Dr. Maura Gillison, said at a recent scientific meeting, according to NPR.

It’s news that might alarm some parents, who worry about adolescents’ appetite for oral sex.

“Today’s teens consider oral sex to be casual, socially acceptable, inconsequential, and significantly less risky to their health than ‘real’ sex,” Dr. Gillison and colleagues said in a written statement released in conjunction with the meeting.

Teens simply think oral sex is “not that a big a deal,” Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, told NPR. “Parents and health educators are not talking to teens about oral sex. Period.”

But simply needling teens about the risks posed by oral sex and HPV – the same virus that causes cervical cancer – is no substitute for literally giving them the needle.

“When my patients ask whether they should vaccinate their sons, I say ‘certainly,” Gillison said, the Telegraph reported. “The vaccine will protect them against genital warts and anal cancer and also as a potential byproduct of that it may protect them against oral cancer caused by HPV.”

This year, 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Eight thousand will die from the cancers.

Practical strategy for oral cancer management in dental practices published in UK

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com
Author: staff

The British Dental Association (BDA) has published a practical guide to help dental professionals combat the growing problem of oral cancer. It reiterates the importance of the early detection of the condition, stressing the improved chances of patient survival in cases where early diagnosis takes place. The proportion of patients with oral cancer who die is higher than for cervical, breast or prostate cancers, the guide points out. It also warns that some patients are beginning to take legal action against dentists alleging failure to detect the condition.

The BDA guide, Early detection and prevention of oral cancer: a management strategy for dental practice, offers practical advice on preventing, detecting and managing oral cancer. It addresses both the clinical aspects of the condition and the management of relationships with patients. It explains the risk factors for the disease, provides guidance on talking to patients about examinations and offers tips on medical history taking and record keeping. It also explores taboos around the practitioner’s right to explore patients’ lifestyle choices that can cause oral cancer, such as drinking, smoking and chewing tobacco, and offers advice on how to overcome them.

Professor Damien Walmsley, the BDA’s Scientific Adviser, said:

“The magnitude of the problem of oral cancer in the UK is growing. While the treatment of many cancers is leading to an improvement in survival rates, the same cannot be said for oral cancer. Early detection is absolutely vital to addressing this situation.

“General dental practitioners and their teams are ideally placed to lead the fightback, but they face many practical difficulties including patient resistance to practitioners’ advice on lifestyle factors. This publication provides in-depth guidance on overcoming those problems and involving the whole dental team in the effective prevention, detection and treatment of the disease.”

BDA members can access the guide free of charge here.

1. Early detection and prevention of oral cancer: a management strategy for dental practice was edited by Professors Paul Speight (University of Sheffield), Saman Warnakulasuriya (King’s College London and World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Oral Cancer, UK) and Graham Ogden (University of Dundee).
2. It is published during Mouth Cancer Action Month (MCAM) 2010, which takes place in November. The month is organised by the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) and is supported by a group of organisations including the BDA. Details of MCAM 2010 are available here.

British Dental Association (BDA)

November, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Could HPV be transmitted orally?

Source: Bright Hub
Author: Kira Jaines

Can a kiss transmit HPV? Or oral sex? Studies conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that not only can human papilloma virus be transmitted orally, it can also increase the risk of oropharyngeal cancer.

Can HPV Be Transmitted Orally?

In a word, yes. Once thought to be uncommon, the oral transmission of human papilloma virus (HPV) through oral sex and even French kissing has been documented and linked to an increasing rate of oropharyngeal cancer. The oropharynx consists of the base the tongue, the tonsils, the back of the mouth and the walls of the throat. Results of a study by Johns Hopkins researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 linked HPV exposure and infection to an increased risk of cancer of the mouth and throat. HPV infection has rapidly caught up with tobacco and alcohol as a risk factor for oral cancer, and has, in fact, become one of the leading causes of oral cancer in men, independently of smoking and drinking.

About HPV

Over 120 different HPV viruses have been identified, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Different types of HPV infect different parts of the body. Some cause warts on the skin. Some cause warts on the genitals. Some are harmless. Some cause cancer. The HPV virus is easily passed via skin-to-skin contact or sexual contact. HPV viruses cause no early identifiable symptoms and most are fought off by the body’s immune system. In fact, sexually-active adults have a 75 percent chance of acquiring HPV during their lifetimes though they may never know they are infected and the infection often resolves without treatment–even infection with high-risk strains of HPV. But prolonged infection with a high-risk strain can develop into cancer. These are the sexually-transmitted strains that cause cervical, anal and penile cancers and are now known to cause oral cancer as well. Can HPV be transmitted orally? Absolutely.

Oral Transmission of HPV

Open-mouthed kissing, or French kissing, can transmit the HPV virus, as can oral sex. Like cervical cancer, the oropharyngeal cancer associated with HPV infection is slow-growing and silent. It may take 10 to 20 years for an oral HPV infection to progress to cancer, according to Dr. Maura L. Gillison of Ohio State University, Columbus. Her 2009 study of both adult and college-aged men found that 4.8 percent of the adults and 2.9 percent of the college-aged men did have oral HPV infection. Among the adults, the odds of HPV infection were significantly greater in smokers and those who had more than 10 oral sex partners or more than 25 vaginal sex partners. In the college-aged men, the chance of oral HPV infection increased significantly with having at least six recent oral sex or open-mouthed kissing partners. Even for the 28 percent of college-aged men who had never performed oral sex, the risk of HPV infection was also significantly increased if they had at least 10 lifetime or five recent open-mouthed kissing partners.

Gillison’s study also found that oropharyngeal cancer linked to HPV can be distinguished from that linked to prolonged use of tobacco and alcohol, and the two types respond differently to treatment. Study participants whose oropharyngeal tumors tested HPV positive had a better chance of survival compared to patients whose tumors tested HPV negative.

HPV Prevention

Vaccines like Gardasil and Cervarix are preventive but will not treat HPV infection. Both protect against the HPV type linked with cervical and oral cancer. In 2010, Cervarix is approved only for females, but Gardasil is approved for males ages 9 through 26 and females ages 13 through 26. In addition to vaccination, limiting the number of sexual partners and choosing partners with few or no prior partners will decrease the chance of contracting the HPV virus. Annual oral cancer screenings with a dentist can also detect early HPV changes that may otherwise go unnoticed for years.


National Cancer Institute: HPV a Risk Factor for Oropharyngeal Cancer

MSNBC: HPV Increasingly Causes Oral Cancer in Men

Oral Cancer Foundation: The HPV Connection

Reuters: “French” Kissing Ups Risk of Oral HPV Infection

National Cancer Institute: HPV Status Can Predict Outcome in Oropharyngeal Cancer

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sexually Transmitted Diseases: HPV

UC Davis probes into oral cancer

Source: theaggie.org
Author: Eric C. Lipsky

UC Davis is searching for new and more effective methods to deal with oral cancer.

Researchers have begun using a fluorescent oral probe to aid in the detection of malignant tissues. The probe allows doctors to differentiate between healthy and malignant tissue, along with having the capacity of working as a screening device. Although still a prototype, the fluorescent probe is showing that it can be helpful to doctors both prior to and during surgery.

“The big picture is to improve the ability to diagnose tumors at an earlier stage,” said Dr. Gregory Farwell, a head and neck surgeon at the UC Davis Medical Center.

Farwell said that people’s ability to survive oral cancer is significantly increased if the cancer is detected at an early stage. He said that oral cancer is primarily caused by smoking, drinking and human papillomavirus (HPV). Farwell said oral cancer through HPV usually takes 10 to 20 years to develop.

43,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. While the cancer is not the most prevalent in the United States, Farwell said it is a major problem worldwide, especially in countries like India and China.

He said this probe could be of great utility for efficiently diagnosing different stages of cancer.

“It is a very effective way to discriminate between normal tissue and tumor tissue,” Farwell said. “We’re showing better results in distinguishing differences in tissue. It can even help discriminate between pre-cancer and advanced cancer.”

The probe, which is relatively small, uses a laser light to interact with the tissue in order to receive the signals indicating whether or not it is malignant.

Farwell explained that this tissue distinction by the probe is crucial when it comes to tissue in the mouth.

“Our hope is that this technology can leave more of the patient’s tissue in place because taking out an extra centimeter could be the difference in impacting swallowing, speech, or disfigurement,” he said.

Farwell believes the probe has the potential to have widespread impact on oral cancer, as there are not many light-based probes out today. This can lead the probe to have an ever-increasing influence in the field.

Laura Marcu, a biomedical engineering professor at UC Davis, has been researching the probe’s effects with Farwell for four years. She believes that the probe is helpful in terms of screening for oral cancer, but that its primary benefit comes from its assistance during surgery.

“It can increase specificity in screening and identifying patients who have malignant transformations in oral cavities,” Marcu said.

Marcu, like Farwell, said the main causes of oral cancer can be attributed to smoking primarily, but that cancerous diagnoses as a result of HPV are increasing. She believes that it is important to treat the cancer early, and that the fluorescent probe can help.

“It’s not just the fact that [oral cancer] is deadly, but that it impacts the oral cavities, causing the diminishment of the person’s life,” she said.

Marcu said that many people are developing oral cancer in their 30s as a result of HPV. Farwell said this could also be attributed to the sexual revolution of the late 20th century.

HPV, a sexually transmitted virus, is similar to the virus strain of cervical cancer that women develop, Farwell said. He believes that HPV will receive much more attention from the public in the next few years, due to the drastic increases -that are rapidly approaching tobacco in terms of figures for cases of oral cancer caused – of HPV-induced diagnoses.

Research results are already being published, as the probe has been the focus of increased attention. If successful, the probe could greatly increase the number of screenings for oral cancer by practitioners and dentists alike.

Farwell believes that the progress made with this probe is a reflection of the quality of the UC Davis Medical Center.

“It is a great example of the collaborative atmosphere we have in place here; a place where doctors from various backgrounds can work together for a common goal,” Farwell said.

Oral sex can add to risk of HPV positive cancers

Source: www.time.com
Author: Coco Masters

Oral sex can get most men’s attention. The topic becomes considerably more relevant, however, when coupled with a new study linking the human papillomavirus (HPV) to an increased risk of a kind of oral cancer more often seen in men.

The study, which appears in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), shows that men and women who reported having six or more oral-sex partners during their lifetime had a nearly ninefold increased risk of developing cancer of the tonsils or at the base of the tongue. Of the 300 study participants, those infected with HPV were also 32 times more likely to develop this type of oral cancer than those who did not have the virus. These findings dwarf the increased risk of developing this so-called oropharyngeal cancer associated with the two major risk factors: smoking (3 times greater) or drinking (2.5 times greater). HPV infection drives cancerous growth, as it is widely understood to do in the cervix. But unlike cervical cancer, this type of oral cancer is more prevalent in men.

HPV is ubiquitous. Of the 120 strains isolated from humans — about 40 of which are in the mouth and genital tracts — Merck’s recently FDA-approved vaccine, Gardasil, protects against four: HPV-6 and HPV-11, which cause warts; and HPV-16 and HPV-18, which cause about 70% of cervical cancers. Similarly, according to the study, HPV-16 was present in 72 of the 100 cancer patients enrolled in the study. Between 12,000 and 15,000 new cases of oropharyngeal cancer are diagnosed each year, and about 3,000 people die from it. “It is a significant health issue,” says Dr. Robert Haddad, clinical director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Haddad says that public awareness of the HPV virus needs to be just like that of HIV because the virus causes multiple types of cancer.

The study’s findings bring to light a part of the debate over HPV vaccination and treatment that is often overlooked: the elevated risks of cancer that being HPV-positive has for men. According to Johns Hopkins’ researcher Dr. Maura Gillison, who worked on the study: “When you look at the cancers associated with HPV in men — including penile cancer, anal squamous cell carcinoma, oral cancers — it’s very close to the number of cases of cervical cancer that occur in the U.S. in women every year. We need to adjust the public’s perception… that only women are at risk.”


In his practice, Haddad has seen an increase in the number of younger people developing this cancer, people in their 30s and 40s. He attributes it in part to a “change in sexual behavior over the last decade.” He says: “The idea that oral sex is risk-free is not correct. It comes with significant risks, and developing cancer is one of them.”

Gardasil has become a vaccine rock star, but vaccines to fight HPV are still in their infancy. Another study in this week’s NEJM points out that while the preventative vaccine works 98% of the time to protect girls not yet infected with HPV-16 and HPV-18, the vaccine is only 17% effective against cancer precursors overall. These findings could undercut the argument ensuing in more than 15 states to make the vaccine mandatory for young girls.

Gardasil and some vaccines in clinical trial are preventative, but drug companies such as MGI Pharma are studying therapeutic vaccines to treat those already infected with the virus. “We need to come up with better vaccines — and we need to study them in men,” says Haddad. Gardasil has not been tested against oral HPV, but Dr. Douglas Lowy, laboratory chief at the National Cancer Institute, says that there is every reason to think that, in principle, “the vaccine should be able to have an impact on oral cancers attributable to HPV.” Lowy says that the next studies might start with a look at the rate of acquisition of oral HPV in those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t.

“There’s no question that the debate needs to go further than where it is now,” says Haddad. “Men are carriers and that is one way of transmitting this virus.”

March, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

Alcohol’s hidden effects revealed in new National Health Service campaign

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com
Author: staff

A new 6 million pound NHS campaign to reveal alcohol’s hidden effects warns people of the unseen damage caused by regularly drinking more than the advised limits and highlights drinkers’ affected organs while they sup their drink in the pub or at home.

The campaign was launched recently by Public Health Minister, Gillian Merron. It forms part of a government-wide strategy to tackle the harmful effects of alcohol and is backed by major health charities.

Merron said in a press statement that:

“Many of us enjoy a drink – drinking sensibly isn’t a problem.” But, she warned that:

“If you’re regularly drinking more than the NHS recommended limits, you’re more likely to get cancer, have a stroke or have a heart attack.”

The Department of Health developed the campaign with Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and the Stroke Association. Part of it entails showing a series of strong messages on TV, in the press and outdoor posters, showing how much harm drinking more than the NHS advised daily limit can do to your body.

In the TV campaign, one advert of three men drinking in a pub, shows one of them with a semi-transparent body, and as he sups his beer, different organs are highlighted to show which parts the narrator, who is explaining the risks of drinking alcohol, is talking about (for example, when high blood pressure is mentioned, the heart becomes more visible).

The NHS advises that women should drink no more than 2 to 3 units of alcohol a day (about 2 small glasses of wine) and men should drink no more than 3 to 4 a day(about two pints of lager).

In the UK, a unit of alcohol is 10 millilitres of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and the strength of an alcoholic drink (the amount of ethyl alcohol it contains) is shown in percentage ABV (alcohol by volume). So every increase of 1% ABV adds another unit of alcohol to a litre: one litre of a drink of 1% ABV contains one unit of alcohol, one litre of 2% per cent ABV drink is 2 units, one litre of 3% ABV is 3 units, and so on.

However, most alcoholic drinks are stronger than 1 or 2% ABV and you don’t have to drink a litre to consume several units. For instance, one pint (just over half a litre) of beer at 4% ABV contains 2.3 units, and half a 0.75 litre bottle of wine at 13% ABV contains 4.9 units.

A recent YouGov poll of more than 2,000 adults showed that more than half (55 per cent) of drinkers in England mistakenly believe that alcohol only does harm if you regularly binge or get drunk.

The survey also revealed that 83 per cent of adults who drank more than the NHS advised daily limit don’t believe their drinking is putting their long- term health at risk.

This suggests that 8.3 of the 10 million adults in England who regularly drink above the recommended limit are probably unaware of how much damage their drinking is doing to their bodies, said the NHS.

Although the vast majority of those surveyed realised that alcohol consumption is linked to liver disease, few realised it is also linked to throat cancer, mouth cancer, breast cancer, stroke and heart disease.

This is in spite of evidence from research that shows, for example:

  • A man who regularly drinks more than two pints of lager a day is three times more likely to have a stroke or mouth cancer.
    A woman who regularly drinks more than two glasses of wine a day is 50 per cent more likely to get breast cancer, and twice as likely to have high blood pressure (which could lead to a heart attack).
  • According to figures from the Department of Health, over 9,000 people in the UK die from alcohol-related causes every year. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that 20 per cent of alcohol-related deaths are from cancer, 15 per cent are from cardiovascular conditions like heart disease and stroke, and 13 per cent are from liver disease.

    Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, said that it was important for people to “realise the harm they, unknowingly, can cause to their health by regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits.”

    “This campaign gives people the facts about the effect alcohol can have on their body and provides support for people who choose to drink less,” he added.

    Director of Communications for The Stroke Association, Joe Korner, said:

    “We are pleased to be involved in this campaign because it alerts people to the long term health risks of regular heavy drinking.”

    Korner said that stroke is the biggest cause of severe disability in adults and affects about 150,000 people every year in the UK, so it is vital that people understand that regularly drinking above the recommended daily limit means they are more likely to have high blood pressure, the single biggest risk factor for stroke.

    The British Heart Foundation’s Associate Medical Director, Dr Mike Knapton, urged that while there is some evidence that sensible drinking in moderation appears to offer some protection against heart disease, this should not be seen as a reason to take up drinking:

    “There are better ways to protect yourself from heart disease,” he said.

    “The evidence is clear, regularly drinking above the recommended daily limits harms the heart as well as causing a host of other harmful effects,” said Knapton.

    Sara Hiom, director of health information for Cancer Research UK said that decades of research has shown that alcohol can raise the risk of several cancers, including cancer of the bowel, breast, liver, mouth, foodpipe (oesophagus), voicebox (larynx) and throat.

    “Our bodies convert alcohol into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde which can lead to cancer by damaging DNA and stopping our cells from repairing this damage,” explained Hiom, adding that another side effect of alcohol consumption is raised levels of estrogen which increases the risk of breast cancer.

    “The simple message is that the more you drink the greater your cancer risk but the more you cut down the more you reduce that risk,” said Hiom.

    March, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

    Drinkers underestimate harm from alcohol

    Source: www.onmedica.com
    Author: OnMedica staff

    More than half (55%) of people in England who drink alcohol wrongly believe that alcohol only damages your health if you regularly get drunk or binge drink, a poll by YouGov has shown.

    YouGov questioned more than 2,000 adults and found that 83% of those who regularly drink more than the NHS recommended limits – 2-3 units a day for women and 3-4 units a day for men – don’t realise that their drinking is risking their long-term health.

    An estimated 10 million adults in England are drinking above the recommended limits, so about 8.3 million people are potentially unaware of the damage their drinking could be causing.

    Although 86% of drinkers surveyed said they knew that drinking alcohol is related to liver disease, far fewer realised it is also linked with breast cancer (7%), throat cancer (25%), mouth cancer (28%), stroke (37%) and heart disease (56%), along with other serious conditions.

    The government has funded a £6 million campaign, backed by charities Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and the Stroke Association, to warn drinkers of the unseen health damage caused by regularly drinking more than the NHS advises. Billboard, press and TV adverts will show drinkers the damage that is being done to their organs while they are drinking, whether in a pub or at home.

    More than 9,000 people in the UK die from alcohol-related causes each year. The World Health Organisation estimates that 20% of alcohol-related deaths are from cancer, 15% are from cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and stroke, and 13% are from liver disease.

    Research shows that a man regularly drinking more than two pints of strong lager a day could be three times more likely to have a stroke and three times more likely to get mouth cancer. A woman regularly drinking two large glasses of wine or more a day is 50% more likely to get breast cancer and twice as likely to have high blood pressure, which could lead to a stroke or a heart attack.

    Joe Korner, director of communications for The Stroke Association, said: “We are pleased to be involved in this campaign because it alerts people to the long-term health risks of regular heavy drinking.

    “Stroke is the biggest cause of severe adult disability and hits 150,000 people a year. So, it’s vital that people understand that women who persistently drink more than three units of alcohol a day and men who drink more then four, are more likely to get high blood pressure, the single biggest risk factor for stroke.“

    Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “While sensible drinking in moderation has been shown to offer some protection against heart disease, this should not be seen as a green light to start drinking.

    “There are better ways to protect yourself from heart disease. The evidence is clear, regularly drinking above the recommended daily limits harms the heart as well as causing a host of other harmful effects.”

    The campaign website, www.nhs.uk/drinking, launches on Monday 1 February and will feature interactive tools to arm people with the information they need to make healthier choices.

    January, 2010|Oral Cancer News|

    Tongue reconstruction

    Source: www.wsoctv.com/health
    Author: staff

    Tongue cancer accounts for about 25 percent of all oral cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 10,530 cases of tongue cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Although the cancer can occur at any age, it’s most commonly diagnosed in older people, with a median age at diagnosis of 61. Men are affected about twice as often as women.

    Two important risk factors for tongue cancer are smoking and drinking. For people who smoke and drink, the risk may be up to 100 times that of those who neither smoke nor drink. Another risk factor for tongue cancer is HPV (human papillomavirus) infection. Douglas Chepeha, M.D., Microvascular Reconstructive Surgeon with the University of Michigan, says doctors are also seeing cases of tongue cancer in young and older women who neither smoke nor drink. The reasons for these cases are not clear.

    Overall five-year survival rates for tongue cancer are about 59.5 percent. However, the cancer has the potential to spread fairly quickly. If the cancer is detected when the condition is still localized, 5-year survival rates are over 77 percent. Once the cancer spreads regionally, survival rates drop to about 55 percent. Thus, early diagnosis is important. Patients who develop a sore on the tongue that doesn’t heal or bleeds easily should see a physician for evaluation.

    Treating Tongue Cancer: Reconstruction After Surgery

    Tongue cancer typically occurs on one side of the tongue. The main treatment is surgery, which can require removal of a significant amount of tissue. Chepeha says doctors typically allow the remaining portion of the tongue to heal or place a skin graft over the area. But that can leave patients with trouble speaking, eating and swallowing.

    Chepeha and his colleagues are using a reconstructive technique, using a graft from the patient’s own body, to improve the aesthetics and function of the tongue. The natural tongue contains areas of thin and thick tissue. So doctors take tissue from areas of the body that best match the varying degrees of thickness. The most common donor site on the body is the forearm. For very skinny or overweight patients, the abdomen may provide a better match in tissue thickness.

    To create the tongue graft, the surgeons look for the area that best matches the size and shape of the original section of tongue. Chepeha compares it to using a fabric pattern to cut out material for a piece of clothing. Once the ideal area is selected, surgeons carefully cut away skin, fat and piece of nerve (no muscle is removed). Then blood vessels and nerve in the graft are connected to those in the mouth. Chepeha says the first 72 hours are the most critical time after the transplant. If the blood vessels are not connected precisely, a clot can form and the transplanted tissue will die.

    After the surgery, the nerve in the graft provides some sensation in the transplanted tissue. However, the graft doesn’t have enough muscle control to move on its own. Therefore, patients need to learn how to maneuver the remaining natural half of the tongue for speaking and eating. Taste is not affected much by the surgery because taste buds on the remaining half of the tongue and those located in other areas of the mouth continue to function.

    December, 2009|Oral Cancer News|

    Drinking epidemic ‘fuels surge in cancer’

    Source: www.dailymail.co.uk/health
    Author: Jenny Hope

    Round-the-clock drinking and cut-price alcohol are to blame for an ‘appalling’ rise in cancers, experts warned today. Cases of cancer of the mouth have gone up by half in the past decade, with a 43 per cent rise in liver tumours. There have also been big rises in breast and colorectal cancer. Many experts are blaming alcohol consumption, which has doubled in the UK since the 1950s and has been fuelled by Labour’s decision to relax licensing laws.

    They are calling for tougher measures to crack down on 2 for 1 offers and price-cutting by supermarkets, as well as the current 24-hour drinking culture. The latest official figures, obtained from parliamentary questions by the Liberal Democrats, show almost 5,000 in England are diagnosed each year with oral cancers – a 53 per cent increase on 3,225 cases in 1997. There was a 20 per cent jump in cancer of the gullet (oesophagus) from 5,397 to 6,487.

    Both types of cancer are linked to heavy drinking, with a fourfold rise in risk for men consuming more than seven drinks a day and women having five drinks or more a day.

    Liver cancer cases went up over the same period from 1,925 to 2,754 – with this cancer two and half times more likely to affect heavy drinkers compared with people who do not drink.

    Female breast cancer cases rose 33 per cent from 28,618 to 38,048. Heavy drinkers run a 60 per cent extra chance of developing the disease.

    Colorectal cancer increased by 14 per cent from almost 27,000 cases to 30,727, with heavy drinking responsible for a 50 per cent rise in risk. Only cancer of the larynx registered a reduction of 8 per cent over the period, down from 1,871 to 1,714.

    Smoking and alcohol are the two main risk factors for oral cancers, which kill around 1,800 a year. Other contributing factors may be a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, which can also cause cervical cancer.

    The figures follow Cancer Research UK data earlier this year which showed an alarming rise of a quarter in oral cancer rates among men and women in their 40s.

    Liberal Democrat spokesman Don Foster, said: ‘Excessive drinking has been on the rise for years, and these shocking figures show how dramatically the health problems of booze Britain are escalating. Ministers cannot turn a blind eye to the terrible problems alcohol is causing.

    ‘The Government’s failure to cut alcohol consumption now is storing up problems for later. The appalling rise of alcohol-related health problems will only continue unless we crack down on reckless retailers and irresponsible drink offers.’

    Recent research by Dr John Foster of Greenwich University, for the Alcohol Education and Research Council, found drinking at home is now routine behaviour for millions. He said: ‘Supermarkets are ” normalising” the purchase of a drug for adults that over time is likely to have major health costs, including rising cancer rates.

    ‘Two-for-one offers and discounted bulk buys should be banned.’

    Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said: ‘Many people are not aware of the connection between alcohol and cancer yet it can be a major contributor or cause of the disease.’

    December, 2009|Oral Cancer News|