Rhod Gilbert: Doctor reveals how ‘brutal’ therapy tackled comedian’s cancer

Source: www.bbc.com Author: Natalie Grice, BBC News Prof Mererid Evans says Rhod Gilbert "wanted something positive to come out of his experience" "A patient once described it to me as brutal, and it's really stuck with me, because it's difficult to go through." What's so brutal? It's the cancer treatment Prof Mererid Evans routinely prescribes to the people who come to her, hoping she will save their lives, and which she aims to improve with research she is leading. It was the same word used by Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert when in 2022 he found himself sitting in front of the consultant oncologist after being diagnosed with throat, neck, tongue and tonsil cancer. Rhod Gilbert was a patron of Velindre Cancer Centre for 10 years before his diagnosis Her famous patient suddenly put her consulting room at Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff, in the limelight when he made a documentary about his treatment. "Rhod wanted something positive to come out of his experience," said Prof Evans, 54, head and neck specialist at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff, a professor at Cardiff University's cancer and genetics division, and head of the Wales Cancer Research Centre. "We talked about the treatment he'd be receiving and I think he felt it was an opportunity to highlight what it's like going through cancer treatment." The resulting Channel 4 programme, A Pain in the Neck for SU2C, followed Gilbert through diagnosis, treatment and the aftermath. Head and neck cancer is the eighth [...]

New radiotherapy technique for treating head and neck cancer could reduce treatment times by nearly half

Source: www.iaea.org Author: Peter Lee, IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications A patient undergoing radiotherapy. (Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com)) More people with head and neck cancer in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) may be able to access radiotherapy, after research carried out by the IAEA showed that fewer but higher doses of radiation treatment resulted in similar clinical outcomes to standard radiotherapy treatments. Reducing overall treatment times for this type of cancer could help countries to shorten waitlists, enabling more patients to receive timely treatment while also reducing the cost and full treatment duration. It was the largest randomized controlled trial of its kind, involving 12 centres in ten LMICs – Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay. The results have been published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics. In 2020, there were over 945 000 new head and neck cancer cases globally causing 468 000 deaths. LMICs bore the brunt of this burden at an estimated 76 per cent of new cases and 84 per cent of deaths. Global efforts such as the IAEA’s Rays of Hope initiative are endeavouring to close this kind of gap through strengthening countries’ capacities to combat cancer by providing life-saving equipment and training. Yet many cancer patients – including in high-income countries but especially in LMICs – face long waitlists. Increased demands for radiotherapy, insufficient human resources, inadequate infrastructure and the concentration of care in national capitals and city centres all prolong [...]

“Immunotherapy is keeping me alive” – John’s story

Source: www.icr.ac.uk Author: John Dabell On his daughter’s second birthday in 2009, John Dabell was diagnosed with advanced head and neck cancer. He went through extensive surgery and treatment and was on the road to recovery when he was diagnosed with cancer again – this time, a tumour in his throat. John was told he didn’t have long to live. But then he started immunotherapy. Here, he talks about its incredible impact and the opportunity it’s given him to spend more time with his wife and daughter. The first red flag telling me something was wrong was when my tongue started to swell. I soldiered on because I didn’t think there was anything sinister going on. That was a mistake. I started having difficulty eating and swallowing, but I put that down to my throat being sore. I was also extremely tired, but I had a young daughter at home and was busy being a primary school teacher. After about a month, things hadn’t improved. I found that I couldn’t utter my words in the same way and things started to get painful. Then my tongue inflated, and I went to see my GP, who recommended I see my dentist. My dentist immediately referred me to a head and neck specialist at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. My life changed forever A biopsy and MRI scan revealed that I had a tumour growing inside my tongue and it was stage four head and neck cancer. This knocked me for [...]

Head and neck cancer: Additional chemotherapy increases survival rate for older patients

Source: www.dental-tribune.com Author: Franziska Beir, Dental Tribune International Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and results in approximately 450,000 deaths per year. As a result of demographic change, the proportion of older patients with this type of cancer is continuously increasing, and these patients are under-represented in clinical trials. The question of whether older patients should be treated with chemotherapy or drug therapy—in addition to radiotherapy—can cause controversy, and the association with higher survival rates has remained unclear. A large-scale international study involving University of Leipzig Medical Center and 12 other university hospitals has now proved the effectiveness of this combined treatment. Cancer treatment for older patients is more individualised compared with that for younger patients, owing to an increasing prevalence of frailty, comorbidities and a higher vulnerability to chemotherapy-related toxic effects. Standardised treatment for head and neck cancer either entails surgical removal of the tumour followed by radiotherapy or organ-preserving radiotherapy in combination with chemotherapy. The latter treatment is especially controversial, and there has been a lack of clinical data to determine the best option. The study involved 12 university hospitals in Europe and the US. The researchers analysed data from 1,044 older patients (65 years or older) with head and neck cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx or larynx. Between 2005 and 2019, 234 of these patients were treated with radiotherapy alone and 810 with radiotherapy in combination with either chemotherapy (677) or an alternative drug therapy with an antibody against a growth [...]

Primary Transoral Surgery Yields Good Swallowing Outcomes Despite Increased Risk of Death in HPV-related OPSCC

Author: Hayley Virgil Source: www.cancernetwork.com Despite an increased risk of grade 5 toxicities, patients with human papillomavirus–related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who received primary transoral surgery and neck dissection vs radiotherapy experienced good swallowing outcomes at 1 year. Good swallowing outcomes were observed at 1 year among patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)–related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who were treated with primary transoral surgery (TOS) and neck dissection vs radiotherapy despite an increased risk of developing grade 5 toxicities, according to findings from the phase 2 ORATOR2 trial (NCT03210103). At a median follow up of 17 months, investigators reported 3 deaths in both the TOS and neck dissection arm, 2 of which were treatment related and 1 due to myocardial infarction at 8.5 months. The 2 treatment-related deaths were reported following TORS and were due to oropharyngeal hemorrhage and cervical vertebral osteomyelitis. Moreover, investigators reported 4 progression-free survival (PFS) events in this arm, 3 of which were mortality events and 1 due to local recurrence. As such, overall survival (OS) and PFS data were considered immature at the time of study. In total, 67% of patients in the radiotherapy arm and 71% in the TOS and neck dissection arm experienced grade 2 to 5 toxic effects. The study included patients who were 18 years or older with T1 to T2 disease and N0 to N2 staging. Those who enrolled were randomized 1:1 to either the primary radiotherapy group, including 60 Gys followed by concurrent weekly cisplatin chemotherapy at 40 mg/m2 in [...]

2022-06-29T15:19:48-07:00June, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Radiation alone may suffice for some nasopharyngeal cancer

Source: www.medpagetoday.com Author: Ed Susman, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today In selected patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, radiation alone may do as much against the disease as the combination of radiation and chemotherapy but with fewer adverse effects, researchers suggested here. About 90% of patients who received radiation alone achieved failure-free survival at 3 years versus 91.9% of patients treated with both radiation and chemotherapy (P=0.86; non-inferiority P<0.001), reported Jun Ma, MD, PhD, of Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center in Guangzhou, China. In his virtual oral presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Ma also reported that 98.2% of patients treated with radiation alone survived to 3 years compared with 98.6% of patients who got both radiation and chemotherapy (P=0.30). The multifaceted subgroup analysis almost entirely favored treatment with alone. There was no difference in distant metastasis-free survival (95% in both arms) or local-regional recurrence-free survival, with both arms hovering in the 90-92% level. And patients treated with both therapeutic modes paid a price in adverse events (AEs), Ma reported, noting that grade 3 to 4 mucositis was observed in 18.9% of patients on chemoradiation but in just 9.7% of those on radiation therapy alone. A similar story in AEs was observed for leukopenia, neutropenia, nausea (0.6% vs 13% grade 3-4), vomiting (1.2% vs 14.8%), anorexia (4.8% vs 29%), and weight loss. That differential in AEs was reflected in quality of life measurements, with better scores in the radiation-only group as far as their global health status, [...]

Revolutionary cancer tool can halve time some patients need radiotherapy

Source: www.nzherald.co.nz 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: medicalxpress.com 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.

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|

First UK clinical trial in proton beam therapy

Source: www.icr.ac.uk Author: staff Image: The Proton Beam Scanner. Credit: The Royal Christie NHS Foundation Trust The first proton beam therapy clinical trial in the UK, co-led by The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is now taking place at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester. The trial will determine whether the use of proton beam therapy reduces long-term side effects and improves quality of life for patients treated with radiotherapy for throat cancer. The study, funded by Cancer Research UK with support from The Taylor Family Foundation started last year and, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, is recruiting ahead of target, with 37 patients so far taking part. In total 183 people will take part in the study, about two thirds will receive proton beam therapy, and a third will receive standard radiotherapy. State of the art proton beam therapy Currently all patients allocated proton treatment within the trial, which is called TORPEdO, receive this at the state of the art NHS proton beam therapy centre at The Christie in Manchester, which opened in 2018. Another centre is currently being built at University College London Hospitals. A combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy is usually effective in curing head and neck cancers, but radiotherapy can damage the healthy surrounding tissue. This can result in severe long-term side effects including dry mouth, loss of taste, difficulty chewing and swallowing and problems with hearing. Some patients might need to use a feeding tube for the rest of their lives. Precisely target [...]

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