Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April was Oral Cancer Awareness month which meant a very busy time for the Oral Cancer Foundation! With help from OCF's amazing volunteers and supporters, OCF hosted oral cancer awareness walks in Washington D.C., Chattanooga, TN, Rossville, IL, New York City, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD.
The annual NYU and Philly walks continued their success in having the largest turnouts and bringing in the most donations for the foundation. Both walks saw a substantial increase in registrants and sponsors this year, but a new walk stepped in and gave both NYU and Philly a run for their money. Oral cancer survivor Jeanna Richelson, hosted the first annual Chattanooga awareness walk on April 10th. It may have been her first time organizing a walk, but she proved to be no rookie. With her help, the Chattanooga walk produced over 300 registrants and raised over $18,000 for oral cancer awareness. According to Brian Hill, founder of the OCF, "there has never been an oral cancer walk that was this successful in its first year. This was an absolutely amazing effort by Jeanna".
All of the walks were a great success, making April the busiest month for awareness events that were directed at the public, the most impactful in OCF history.
Another public outreach during the month of April was the annual Oral Cancer Awareness Week, April 12-18. In that week alone, OCF partnered with over 130 cancer centers, ENT offices, and dental clinics in the US to offer free oral cancer screenings, promoting the importance of early diagnosis. Since 2000, when the link between HPV and oral cancers was firmly established, OCF became a strong promoter of opportunistic annual screenings to catch this disease at its earliest possible stages, when it is most vulnerable to existing treatment modalities and survival rates are the highest. The difficulty in defining the high-risk group was significantly compromised, now that HPV16 was a known etiology. Opportunistic screenings became more important than ever, as smoking was challenged as the primary cause of the disease. We believe that this will bring the oral cancer death rate down as early detection and diagnosis takes place, and will reduce the treatment-associated morbidity to patients who do present with oral cancers. OCF plans to continue the relationship with the participating centers and clinics to offer multiple screening events in the year ahead.
Although April is the official month for oral cancer awareness, our goal to spread awareness continues all year long. Please join us in continuing to spread awareness of oral cancer. Together, we can inform the public of this terrible disease and promote the importance of opportunistic annual screenings. Remember, OCF cannot accomplish this alone. Your active participation is what will make the difference. Please continue to show your support so we can make oral cancer HISTORY!
Enzyme predictive of head and neck cancer survival
Scientists have identified an enzyme that may predict survival from head and neck cancer, according to a report presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Researchers analyzed tissue samples from over 100 squamous carcinoma patients, finding that those with low levels of the enzyme ERCC1 had increased chances of surviving the cancer following adjutant therapy. View the movie . . .
Nicotine vaccine shows effectiveness in early tests
A vaccine that could help people stop smoking is showing promise in early clinical trials, researchers announced this week at a national meeting of addiction specialists.
The vaccine is designed to stimulate the immune system to generate antibodies that would latch on to nicotine in a smoker's body and prevent it from ever entering the brain.
The vaccine maker, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, reported that those who responded best to NicVAX in earlier testing had been able to quit smoking for three times longer than those in the placebo group, with data from 19 to 26 weeks, and then for 12 months.
These are considered statistically significant results and superior to the testing results of Zyban and Chantix, prescription medications already approved to help smokers over the age of 18 quit, Nabi officials told the National Institute on Drug Abuse conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In addition, those whose bodies responded most effectively to NicVAX cut the number of cigarettes smoked, from a baseline of 20 cigarettes per day to 10 cigarettes per day. Read More . . .
Smokeless tobacco risks 'overblown'?
The Wall Street Journal "Numbers Guy" blog said that while smokeless tobacco products remain far less popular than cigarettes in the United States, a collection of products that deliver nicotine without smoke—including dip, chew, snuff and newer items that look more like chewing gum—have sparked a heated debate about health risks.
Opponents of these products have presented numbers that suggest smokeless tobacco is an enormous public-health threat akin to cigarettes, while supporters, including some scientists, suggest smokeless items could offer a solution to smoking's toll on public health. Both claims are based on misinterpretations of the data, said the report.
Critics of smokeless tobacco have spoken out recently about elevated risks of oral cancer and dangers these items pose to children who accidentally ingest them. All of these risks appear to be overblown, said the blog, particularly compared with smoking, which is far more likely to kill than smokeless alternatives.
But researchers who recommend these products as alternatives for smokers seeking to quit also are relying on hazy figures, the report added. Much of their evidence comes from Sweden, where use of smokeless products has risen in recent decades as smoking, and lung-cancer rates, have fallen. Many scientists who study tobacco use remain unpersuaded that the drop in cancer rates stemmed from the increase in use of smokeless products.
In pressing the case for more stringent regulation of smokeless tobacco, a National Cancer Institute physician last week testified before Congress that smokeless-tobacco products can multiply users' risk of oral cancer by up to 50 times. The American Cancer Society followed up with a similar statement. But as Brad Rodu, professor of oncology at the University of Louisville whose research is funded by the tobacco industry, pointed out in a blog post this week, the risk figure is based on a survey of individuals who had used a form of tobacco called dry snuff, which is inhaled through the nose—a product that now is little used. Read More . . .
Alcohol based mouthwash and oral cancer- too much confusion
Source: Scienceblogs.com; Author: Francis Mawanda
If you are like me, you probably always and almost faithfully, include a bottle of mouthwash on your grocery list especially after watching and/or listening to the numerous commercials in the media which claim that you will not only get long lasting fresh breath, but also freedom from the germs that cause plaque and gingivitis. However, many proprietary mouthwashes including my favorite brand contain Alcohol (ethanol) which also gives them the characteristic burn we have to endure, albeit for a few seconds each day, but safe in the knowledge that the product is hard at work killing all the germs that give us bad breath and may cause plaque and gingivitis. But the question I continually ask myself is whether regular or long term use of these products is safe especially after reading the numerous research reports and newspaper articles suggesting a possible link between long term use of alcohol based mouthwashes and oral cancer.
Several research studies have reported finding an association between long term mouthwash use and oral cancer. For example, in a study conducted by Wynder and colleagues, they found a significant association between mouthwash use and oral cancer. A bigger multi-site study by Guha and colleagues comparing participants who reported having used mouthwash to those who reported never having used mouthwash found that individuals who reported using mouthwash more than twice a day were nearly six times more likely to develop oral squamous cell carcinoma compared to those who reported never having used mouthwash. However, in both these studies, no distinction was made on whether participants used alcohol or non-alcohol based mouthwashes which raises several epidemiological concerns such as specificity, since not all mouthwashes contain the same chemical ingredients.
However, several studies have been conducted in which a distinction was made between alcohol containing and non alcohol containing mouthwash use. Unfortunately, these studies have produced mixed results. While some studies reported finding a positive association between alcohol containing mouthwash use and oral cancer, other studies found no association at all. For example, although a 1983 study conducted in the states of California, Atlanta, and New Jersey by Winn and colleagues found an increased risk of oral cancer among users of alcohol containing mouthwash compared to both non-users and users of non-alcohol based mouthwash, a similar study conducted in Puerto Rico found no significant association between the use of alcohol based mouthwash and oral cancer. Read MoreOral cancer failed to silence Sen. Diane Allen
As Diane Allen lay on a gurney at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she knew she had to learn to let go.She had found the right doctor, the right hospital. She told relatives and close friends she was about to undergo surgery for an aggressive form of oral cancer. Part of her tongue and part of the floor of her mouth were to be removed in that November surgery. Her doctors had told her she probably would never speak normally again.
So, the woman who had made a living talking – as a television news reporter and anchor in Philadelphia and Chicago and most recently as a Republican New Jersey state senator – probably would lose one of her greatest assets.
But that's not what made her tear up the most as she recently recalled her feelings over the last few months. The hardest part was the thought of never again being able to read to her three grandchildren.She tried to take control of that, too. She recorded CDs for them, reading Goodnight Moon and "A Visit From St. Nicholas." Everything she could control was under control. And then, as she lay on the gurney, she gave up control. She felt a sense of calm.Allen, a Quaker, said, "I learned submission for the first time in my life, to rest in the Lord."She woke up able to speak, not well, but people could understand her. After months of speech therapy, she got her TH's, her S's and her Z's down.
She still mispronounces sometimes, she said, when she's tired."I get a little sloppy," she joked in an interview Friday, one day after her first public event since the autumn.She was diagnosed in October and had her first operation in early November; she had a second surgery in March.Allen, 62, of Edgewater Park, kept in touch with her Senate office via phone and e-mail. Her staff, which she calls "the best legislative staff in New Jersey," kept up with constituent service.
Allen sometimes got involved when it was necessary for her to talk to state officials.But mostly she was home recuperating because her immune system wasn't back up to speed.
Allen was unaware of oral cancer, or even that her grandfather died of it before she was born. Read More"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." -Ralph Waldo Emerson