Ask the Dentist: Cancer patients should be aware how radiotherapy can affect saliva

Source: www.irishnews.com
Author: Lucy Stock

SALIVA – we normally give little thought to our spit but we definitely notice when it’s not there. Every day in the UK 31 people are diagnosed with a head and neck cancer. With increasing numbers of people undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancers there are more people living with the side-effects of not having enough saliva.

Dry mouth, termed xerostomia, is common after radiotherapy. It’s not only extremely uncomfortable, it makes speaking and swallowing more difficult and alters how things taste. Food can taste saltier, metallic; you can lose your sense of taste totally; and perhaps even worse, foods can taste foul, like sour milk.

Not being able to chew and swallow easily can reduce how much you eat and how well you eat, leading to weight loss and poor nourishment.

Saliva performs numerous jobs. It starts digestion by breaking down food and flushes food particles from between the teeth. Crucially, saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that keep teeth strong. So no saliva means that teeth decay rapidly and extensively. Even voice quality can change.

Without enough saliva, bacteria and other organisms in the mouth take the opportunity to grow uncontrollably. Nasty sores and mouth infections, including yeast thrush infections, are run-of-the-mill.

Luckily a dry mouth is usually a temporary nuisance that clears up in about two to eight weeks but it can take six months or longer for the salivary glands to start producing saliva again after radiotherapy ends.

In a 2017 study, out of several treatments tested, the drug pilocarpine gave the most significant improvement in dry mouth following radiotherapy. However, you may experience a side effect, albeit short lived, from this medication and it can take a couple of months to work.

Artificial salivas are available as lozenges, sprays and gels, the downside being that their benefits last only a few hours. The Biotene range is specially designed to help relieve dry mouths and includes toothpastes, mouthwashes and gels to give comfort and protect the teeth.

You can buy small atomiser spray bottles from most chemists and fill them with water or fluoride mouthwash. If you cannot swallow, your nurse or doctor can give you a nebuliser to moisten your mouth and throat. Always visit your dentist before cancer treatments to maximise the health of your mouth.

Relieve a dry mouth by:

  • Sipping water often
  • Avoiding drinks with caffeine which dry out the mouth
  • Chewing sugarless gum
  • Avoiding spicy or salty foods, which may cause pain
  • Avoiding tobacco or alcohol
  • Using a humidifier at night.

Why drinking wine causes very dry mouth, and how eating cheese helps prevent it

Source: www.medicaldaily.com
Author: Lizette Borreli

The real reason why wine and cheese are often paired together has to do with creating a more balanced mouth feel to prevent dry mouth.

Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain

At a happy hour, a dinner event, or a winery, we’re likely to see wine and cheese together on the menu. This classic food pairing makes it less likely for us to get dry mouth when we drink wine, and science has found out why. The food combination pair of astringent wine with fatty cheese, opposing foods of sensory perception, help create a more balanced mouth feel.

In the video, “Why Does Wine Make Your Mouth Feel Dry?” MinuteEarth explains the temporarily leather-like feel in our mouth is linked to the tannins in wine. The over consumption of tannins, like having a few glasses of wine, causes the slippery proteins in our saliva, tongues and cheeks to stick together, which produces a rough feeling on the tongue. Luckily, the bonds between the tannins and proteins are temporary, meaning once the mouth creates new saliva, it will dilute the tannins and carry them away.

Instead of waiting for new saliva to develop, there are proteins in fatty foods that will bond with the tannins, rather than our mouth. In a 2012 study, published in the journal Cell, researchers suggest drinking wine and eating cheese together work as the mild astringent cuts fat. Astringents tend to have a strong effect each time the mouth is exposed to them, implying they react more strongly with the lubricating proteins in the mouth upon each exposure.

A separate study published in the Journal of Food Science found when four different types of cheeses were paired with four different wines, the cheese influenced the dominant taste of each wine. For example, when participants paired a dry white Sancerre with Epoisses cheese, they were more likely to detect citrus notes. Meanwhile, when a spicy red Bourgogne was paired with Roquefort, the astringency decreased because the the fat in the cheese coated the mouth, therefore, reducing the tannin-induced drying.

These findings simply suggest why wine and cheese pairings have come to exist. An excess of tannins leads to dry mouth, but pairing astringent foods with fatty foods, like cheese, can help offset this feeling. Our mouth will feel smooth and leather-free.

Moreover, this sensory method can help us better understand why our perception of food changes when it is paired with something else. Perhaps this is why sandwiches are paired with pickles; why green tea goes with sushi; and why oil goes with vinegar. These famous food pairings could be a direct result of cultures finding the most balanced pairings based on what the foods are made of.

Until then, we will gladly pair our wine and cheese together, in the name of food science.

UC Davis will use dogs to sniff out cancer

Source: www.willitsnews.com
Author: staff

A university team of physicians, veterinarians and animal behaviorists has begun training a pair of very special canines to sniff out cancer. One of the 4-month-old puppies is Alfie, a Labradoodle. months old.

A university team of physicians, veterinarians and animal behaviorists has begun training a pair of very special canines to sniff out cancer. One of the 4-month-old puppies is Alfie, a Labradoodle. months old.

UC Davis clinicians are hoping to advance cancer screenings with the innate olfactory skills of man’s best friend. A university team of physicians, veterinarians and animal behaviorists has begun training a pair of very special canines who may represent high-tech health care on four feet in the effort to better screen for cancer, especially at early stages of the disease.

About 4-months old, the puppies Alfie (a Labradoodle) and Charlie (a German Shepherd) are undergoing a rigorous twelve-month training program to develop their abilities to identify the scent of cancer in samples of saliva, breath and urine.

According to sensory scientists, the olfactory acuity of dogs enables them to detect odorant concentration levels at 1 to 2 parts per trillion, roughly 10,000 to 100,000 times that of a human. UCD physicians and researchers believe Alfie and Charlie have the potential to add an important diagnostic element to patient care. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and early detection of the disease gives patients the best chance of survival.

“For the past number of years, we have been developing very high-end, expensive new tests to try and detect the presence of cancer,” said Ralph de Vere White, distinguished professor of urology and director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Dogs have been doing this, detecting disease in the urine of people suspected of having bladder cancer, for example. This work marries sophisticated technology with low-tech, yet sophisticated, dogs’ noses to see if they can help us identify the molecules that differentiate cancer from non-cancer.”

Hilary Brodie, professor and chair of the UCD Department of Otolaryngology, hopes that the identification of these molecules will lead to innovative and readily available methods of detection.

“Much like the hand-held devices used to detect alcohol, drugs and explosives have revolutionized our safety, having a new tool to detect early-stage cancer would have incredible benefits for patient care,” noted Brodie, whose department treats many head, neck and throat cancer patients.

Researchers have established that dogs can recognize melanoma as well as bladder, lung, breast and ovarian cancers. Canines have been successfully trained to distinguish the breath samples of lung and breast cancer patients from those of healthy volunteers. Such promising results have cancer experts at UCD enthusiastic about the potential for the dogs to represent a safe, noninvasive method for detecting cancer before it is too late.

Current cancer screening methods frequently result in the disease being identified at a later stage, often past the so-called golden hour when treatment is most effective and when the cases aren’t as challenging.

“Identifying patients at earlier stages could be extremely helpful in the fight against cancer,” said Gregory Farwell, professor of otolaryngology and director of the university’s Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Surgery program.

Alfie and Charlie are being trained by Dina Zaphiris, director of the In Situ Foundation in Chico. Zaphiris has trained more than two dozen dogs in their ability to detect cancer. As in training for drug and explosives detection, the UCD canines are learning how to distinguish samples from cancer patients and healthy individuals. According to Zaphiris, almost any dog can be trained to detect cancer. She prefers German Shepherds, Labradors, poodles and herding breeds because of their work ethic.

Alfie and Charlie’s human-cancer screening work will begin in early 2016 with a clinical trial to establish the safety and efficacy of the new diagnostic canine approach. UCD physicians say their ultimate goal is to bring more comprehensive cancer-screening capabilities to the public.

“Despite all the advances of modern medicine, we still can’t reliably detect many types of cancers in their early stages,” said Peter Belafsky, professor of otolaryngology and a physician who often deals with cases involving advanced cancer. “Our new canine colleagues represent a unique weapon in the battle against cancer. It’s the first of its kind at UC Davis, and the dogs’ incredible talent for scent detection could offer us humans a real jump on diagnosing cancer much earlier and thus save many more lives.”

2015-09-13T15:14:35-07:00September, 2015|Oral Cancer News|

HPV DNA detected in mouthwash predicts oral cancer recurrence

Source: www.onclive.com
Author: Kelly Johnson

The presence of HPV16 DNA is common at diagnosis of HPV-related oropharyngeal carcinoma (HPV-OPC) but rare after treatment. HPV-OPC has a favorable prognosis; however, 10% to 25% of patients experience disease progression, usually within 2 years of treatment.

Patients who have HPV 16 DNA in their saliva following treatment of their oropharyngeal cancer are more likely to have their cancer recur, and a prospective cohort study published in JAMA Oncology has shown that a simple mouth rinse can be used to detect it.

Gypysamber-1

Gypsyamber D’Souza

Gypsyamber D’Souza, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and fellow researchers monitored 124 patients with newly diagnosed oropharyngeal cancer from 2009 through 2013. They collected oral rinse and gargle samples using 10 mL of mouthwash at the time of diagnosis as well as after treatment 9, 12, 18, and 24 months later.

HPV16 DNA was detected in 67 out of 124 of the participants testing positive. Of the 67 patients who had HPV16 DNA in their saliva at the time of diagnosis, five patients (7%) were found to still have traces of HPV16 in their oral rinses following treatment.

All five patients developed a local recurrence of oropharyngeal cancer, three of whom died from the disease.

“It’s a very small number so we have to be somewhat cautious,” said D’Souza, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School and a member of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a statement. However, “The fact that all of the patients with persistent HPV16 DNA in their rinses after treatment later had recurrence meant that this may have the potential to become an effective prognostic tool.”

Green tea polyphenol helps kill oral cancer cells by destroying mitochondria

Source: www.medicaldaily.com
Author: Chris Weller
First it targeted pancreatic cancer. Now it’s moved onto oral cancer. A new study from Penn State University shows the main antioxidant in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), helps kill cancer cells through the destruction of the cells’ mitochondria.

 

green-tea

While highly effective at eradicating cancer cells, chemotherapy is quickly falling out of practice with doctors who seek targeted treatments. Instead of getting rid of just the harmful cells, chemo attacks healthy cells, which are often found in the hair and the intestines, resulting in the characteristic hair loss and frequent immune system-related illness.

“You don’t see these sorts of side effects with green tea consumption,” said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science at Penn State, in a press release. Lambert and his colleagues carried out their study by looking at cell cultures, which they injected with the same amount of EGCG a person would normally have in her saliva after chewing green tea-flavored gum. They saw a number of promising reactions.

“It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species,” Lambert explained. Over time, the mitochondria lose even more of its defenses with a breakdown in the expression of antioxidant genes. In their weakened state the cancer cells eventually succumb to EGCG in full, and they die.

This isn’t the first time EGCG revealed its cancer-killing power. In May of last year, scientists from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) discovered the compound’s ability to prevent and slow the growth of pancreatic cancer. One of the key enzymes in pancreatic cancer cells is known as LDHA, and prior studies have shown the enzyme inhibitor oxamate is instrumental in destroying LDHA. In similar culture tests, LA BioMed researchers found EGCG rivaled oxamate in its destructive power.

The scientists on either coast share the same goal: getting rid of cancer. Many forms of the disease are rising in prevalence, particularly in developing nations where the Western diet wields a dangerous, processed influence. Lung cancer, for example, recently passed breast cancer as the most fatal form of cancer among women in the developed world. Pancreatic cancer is nearly just as bad. Of the 45,000 diagnoses each year in the U.S., 85 percent of cases are fatal.

For Lambert and his research team, the more immediate goal is to move out of cell cultures. The next step is animal models, so they can see what kind of side effects — if any — EGCG brings. If the mitochondria continue to wither in the compound’s presence, they’ll move a step closer to developing alternative therapies for oral cancer that don’t rely on the wide-scoped forces of chemo.

Source:
Tao L, Park J, Lambert J. Differential prooxidative effects of the green tea polyphenol, (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, in normal and oral cancer cells are related to differences in sirtuin 3 signaling. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2015.

Blood test could predict oral cancer recurrence

Source: www.livescience.com
Author: Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer

A new blood and saliva test that looks for traces of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can predict whether some people with oral cancers will have their cancer come back, early research suggests.

It helps to know as soon as possible that cancer has returned, because tumors that are caught early are easier to treat.

In the study, the researchers analyzed blood and saliva samples from 93 people with head and neck cancers; about 80 percent of these patients had cancers that tested positive for HPV. All of their cancers had previously been treated with surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

The researchers looked for fragments of DNA from HPV-16, a strain of the virus that is strongly linked with head and neck cancer. The virus may be found in cancer cells that linger in the body after treatment, the researchers said.

Among people with HPV-positive tumors, the new test identified 70 percent of those whose cancer returned within three years, the researchers said.

“Until now, there has been no reliable biological way to identify which patients are at higher risk for recurrence, so these tests should greatly help [to] do so,” study researcher Dr. Joseph Califano, professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said in a statement.

Patients with head and neck cancer typically visit the doctor every one to three months during the first year after their diagnoses to check for cancer recurrence. But new tumors in the tonsils, throat and base of the tongue can be difficult to spot, and are often not detected early, the researchers said.

Still, more research is needed to confirm the findings, Califano said. Because HPV infection is common, the test may identify HPV infections that are not related to the cancer. “We can’t be sure our test results are cancer-specific, and not due to other forms of HPV infection or exposure,” Califano said.

The researchers are now looking for additional genetic markers that would increase the accuracy of their test.

Note:
The study is published today in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery.

Brits call for smoking in films to be stubbed out

Source: www.economicvoice.com
Author: staff

After a record night of success for British talent at the Oscars, a new poll reveals a majority of us would like to stub out smoking in films watched by children.

In a survey conducted by oral health charity the British Dental Health Foundation, more than two thirds (67 per cent) said they thought films featuring actors smoking should receive the highest classification rating, suitable only for adults. According to the British Board of Film Classification, rated-18 films currently allow scenes of drug-taking, provided ‘the work as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse’. The film board makes no reference to smoking or alcohol misuse, two of the leading risk factors for mouth cancer.

Rita-Hayworth

Rita Hayworth

One in five people in the UK smoke, and the habit is still considered the leading cause of mouth cancer. But while many of us are aware of the damage that smoking does to our lungs, the danger to our mouths remains relatively unknown. Smoking helps to transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous. As alcohol aids the absorption of tobacco into the mouth, those who smoke and drink to excess are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, urged the film board to consider its policy on films depicting smoking. Dr Carter said: “The risks of smoking have been well documented for many years, yet for many young people the message still isn’t getting through. Children see movie stars as role models. If they are smoking, children are more likely to take up the habit. The same applies to sports stars, people we see on every day TV and even parents. By re-classifying films containing smoking scenes, it could lead to a drop in the number of young children taking up the habit.

“Tobacco use is still the leading cause of mouth cancer, a disease that claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined. Through campaigns such as Mouth Cancer Action Month in November and No Smoking Day on Wednesday 12 March, it is vital people take the warnings about smoking on board. Mouth cancer is the most severe outcome, but it can lead to many oral health problems such as tooth staining, gum disease and tooth loss.

“It is really important that everyone knows the warning signs for mouth cancer. They include mouth ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth. Our message to everyone is ‘If in doubt, get checked out’.”

Mouth bacteria trigger oral cancer

Source: www.digitaljournal.com
Author: Tim Sandle

Chemicals released from two bacteria that cause gum disease can incite the growth of deadly lesions and tumors in the mouth, trigger oral cancer. This is according to a new study carried out by Case Western Reserve University.

High levels of certain bacteria found in the saliva of people are associated with the risk of oral cancer. The researchers were keen to understand why most people never develop oral cancer and what it is that protects them. Their answer related to most people not carrying a certain type of bacteria in their mouths.

The cancer of concern is Kaposi’s sarcoma-related (KS) lesions and tumors in the mouth. The bacteria associated with this are the species Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum. These species are associated with gum disease.

For the research, scientists recruited 21 patients, dividing them into two groups. All participants were given standard gum-disease tests. The first group of 11 participants had an average age of 50 and had severe chronic gum disease. The second group of 10 participants, whose average age was about 26, had healthy gums. The bacteria were common to those with gum disease.

By carrying out further tests, the researchers found that the bacteria produce fatty acids and these fatty acids then allowed oral cancer causing viruses to grow. The discovery could lead to early saliva testing for the bacteria. When such bacteria are found the mouth of a patient could be treated and monitored for signs of cancer and before it develops into a malignancy.

The findings have been reported in The Journal of Virology, in a paper titled “Short Chain Fatty Acids from Periodontal Pathogens Suppress HDACs, EZH2, and SUV39H1 to Promote Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Replication.”

2014-03-09T21:58:39-07:00February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

New oral cancer saliva test could reduce false-positive results

Source: www.drbicuspid.com
Author: staff

Researchers at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry have discovered a new saliva test for oral cancer that could reduce false-positive results. As new oral cancer diagnoses rose to more than 41,000 in 2013, the demand for early detection continues to increase.

Yi-Shing Lisa Cheng, DDS, PhD, an associate professor in diagnostic sciences at Baylor College, has been working to develop a saliva test as an oral cancer screening tool, according to an A&M announcement. In 2009, she received a $381,000 R21 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to find reliable oral cancer salivary biomarkers, which can be used as indicators of disease or other health conditions.

Dr. Cheng recently received a $50,000 faculty bridge grant from Texas A&M Health Science Center and A&M Baylor College of Dentistry’s diagnostic sciences department to continue this research. The goal is to determine whether patients with oral lichen planus and periodontal disease exhibit false positives for the future oral cancer saliva tests.

Dr. Cheng noted that early detection of cancer is always good and using a saliva test is a noninvasive and relatively easy procedure. Her research differs from models that compare salivary biomarkers of oral cancer patients with those of completely healthy individuals. Instead, Dr. Cheng looked at the biomarkers of patients with noncancerous oral conditions.

It’s an effort that could save patients thousands of dollars, not to mention the stress and health complications associated with false-positive results. Dr. Cheng’s Baylor team and researchers from the University of Toledo in Ohio have identified some promising candidate salivary biomarkers, but more testing is needed to validate initial results.

Saliva samples are being collected from the following groups:

  • Patients with oral cancer
  • Patients with periodontal disease who are smokers and nonsmokers
  • Patients with active and inactive oral lichen planus
  • Healthy, nonsmoking patients who have none of these diseases

Genetic markings could spot cancer before it develops

Source: www.thealmagest.com
Author: press release

Unique DNA markings on certain genes may “predict” the risk of developing head and neck cancer, according to new research led by Queen Mary University of London.

The findings, published in the journal Cancer, raise the potential for the development of non-invasive tests which could pick up these tell-tale signs of early cancer initiation.

Head and neck cancers are cancers that develop anywhere in the head and neck, including mouth cancer and throat cancer. About 16,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with head and neck cancer every year*.

In this study scientists analysed clinical specimens of malignant tissue from 93 cancer patients from Norway and the UK. These were compared with either tissue donated by healthy individuals undergoing wisdom tooth extractions, or with non-cancerous tissue from the same patients.

They were trying to identify whether there were any epigenetic changes in the cancerous cells which were not seen in the healthy cells. Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence.

Not all genes are active all the time and there are many ways that gene expression is controlled. DNA methylation marks act as ‘switches’, either turning genes on or off. Abnormal DNA methylation is known to precede cancer initiation.

Lead researcher Dr Muy Teck-Teh, from the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary, said: “In this study we have identified four genes which were either over or under-expressed in head and neck cancer. The expression of these genes was inversely correlated with particular DNA methylation marks, suggesting the genes are epigenetically modified in these cancers.

“These epigenetic markers could be clinically exploited as biomarkers for early pre-cancer screening of head and neck cancer. However, further work is needed, as we are purely at the discovery stage at the moment and have not used this as a diagnostic test as yet.

“The eventual aim would be to test asymptomatic patients and/or people with unknown mouth lesions. An advantage of epigenetic DNA markers is that it may be possible to measure them using non-invasive specimens. So it could enable the use of saliva, buccal scrapes or blood serum for early cancer screening, diagnosis and prognosis.”

Consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon Professor Iain Hutchison, co-author on the study, said he was excited by the possibility of diagnostic tests as a result of the research.

“All of us mouth cancer surgeons want to catch the cancer early when the chances of cure are high and the effects of surgery on the patient are minimal. A simple test using the patient’s blood or saliva could mean many patients with pre-cancer changes in the mouth or throat will be treated early and the cancer will never progress.”

The study was partly funded by the research charity Saving Faces – The Facial Surgery Research Foundation. Professor Hutchison founded the charity, which aims to reduce facial injuries and diseases through medical research.

2013-12-09T07:49:48-07:00December, 2013|Oral Cancer News|
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