LATEST RESEARCH ON NECK AND HEAD CANCER
The latest information and news about neck and head cancer treatments and research is shown below.
Just click on the title to read the article
Mouthwash cancer dangers – especially for drinkers and smokers
In a major study conducted by researchers from the Australia's University of Melbourne and University of Queensland School of Dentistry, the use of mouthwashes containing alcohol as an ingredient can significantly increase the risk of cancers of the mouth, head and neck.
"We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of (mouthwash containing alcohol), so what we've done is review all the evidence," said lead researcher Michael McCullough, chair of the Australian Dental Association's therapeutics committee. They followed mouthwash use amongst 3,210 people and compared it with rates of mouth, head and neck cancers.
The researchers found that those who used an alcohol-containing mouthwash at least once per day had a significantly increased risk of cancer, independent of other risk factors such as smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages.
However, where people also drank alcohol regularly, there was a 500 per cent increase over drinkers who did not use mouthwash. For smokers who used mouthwash there was a 900 per cent increase over smokers who didn’t use one of these mouthwashes.
"Since this article, further evidence has come out," McCullough added. "We believe there should be warnings. If it was a facial cream that had the effect of reducing acne but had a four to fivefold increased risk of skin cancer, no one would be recommending it."
Colorectal; Head and neck cancers – backlash on new drug
Only a couple of months ago we were receiving Press releases about the new wonder drug, Erbitux from Merck. Erbitux (cetuximab) is a monoclonal antibody that targets and inhibits Epidermal Growth Factor receptor (EGFr). EGFr is over-expressed in more than 35% of all solid malignant tumours and the drug targets this. Currently used with colorectal cancer, there are plans to use it with head and neck cancer patients.
However, as we have reported before, journals such as the Lancet Oncology have already expressed concerns that these new targeted and therefore reduced side-effect monoclonal drugs were anything but. Now in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing patients participating in a study experienced many different forms of extremely high skin toxicity including severe acne, puss filled blisters, and severe rashes. Outbreaks worsened with each further dose. The report shows pictures of the bad side effects. The study concluded that approximately 90% of all patients receiving this antibody drug will experience side effects with varying severity. Depression and negative effects on the heart along with pulmonary toxicity were also noted.
(Seminars in oncology nursing: ((http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve.) Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing
NICE approves Cetuximab for treatment of Head and Neck Cancer
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) today issued a Final Appraisal Determination (FAD) recommending the use of Erbitux® (cetuximab) in combination with radiotherapy for the treatment of locally advanced head and neck cancer in patients that are contraindicated to all forms of platinum based chemo/radiotherapy.
This will be fully implemented across the NHS within three months.
‘Cetuximab is the only targeted therapy to be approved for the treatment of locally advanced head and neck cancer in combination with radiation therapy and is one of the first new treatments in over 40 years that significantly prolongs patient’s survival and control of the disease‘ claim the manufacturers.XX
Inject-a-Gel for Advanced Neck and Head Cancers
Patients suffering recurrent tumours have a new option. Barry Wenig (Northwestern Medical School, Illinois, USA), has just completed two phase III trials with a gel containing cisplatin and adrenalin injected directly into tumours. This reduces additional tissue damage and side effects allowing localised treatment.
Insulin resistence/intolerance found to increase cancer risk
A while ago, at CANCERactive we told you all about Insulin Resistance. ‘Do you have trouble losing weight?’ This is a common sign, as are low levels of HDL, high triglycerides, high blood glucose levels and more. And while you are not a true diabetic, the principles seem the same for an estimate of up to 70 per cent of the population, who (frankly) just eat badly. We have also given you a number of research studies showing glucose drives cancer.
Not surprisingly, insulin resistance is a step along the road to diabetes and heart disease. Now it has been shown to be a step along the road to cancer too.
New research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, concluded that ‘there is a strong link between insulin resistance and the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.’ Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York have concluded that the elevated insulin levels linked to insulin resistance result in post-menopausal women having a higher risk of breast cancer.
The researchers also found that elevated blood glucose and triglyceride levels raised the risk of breast cancer by 1.7 times. Increased diastolic blood pressure (the second number when you have your blood pressure measured ) raised the risk of breast cancer 2.4 times.
Two factors are important here:
Although this research was conducted looking at breast cancer, you can bet this is true for many cancers, male and female.
Yet again it highlights the point we consistently make about the daft sugar-laden diets given to cancer patients in UK Hospitals.
We have complained that the NHS booklet on ‘a diet for chemotherapy’ shows little drawings of cheese burgers, milk shakes and sticky doughnuts on every page. My daughter was given ice cream and Ribena endlessly in her oncology unit.
Of course the good news for everyone – preventers and people with cancer - is that insulin resistance and blood sugar levels are controllable and reverse-able. Just change your diet!!!
I will list here for everyone’s benefit some of the tips from my book ‘The Rainbow Diet – and how it can help you beat cancer’:
Eat six small meals a day, not one or two big ones
Eat whole foods and whole grains (never refined, processed or fast foods)
Avoid alcohol, fizzy soft drinks, sweets, cakes, white bread, white pasta, biscuits, chocolate. Diet drinks are especially bad! As are smoothies and purchased fruit juices; even many so-called health drinks.
Eat raw most days, on an empty stomach if possible
Eat your fruit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach
Eat steamed or grilled – never fried
Avoid Dairy (lactose is a sugar)
Take probiotics in several strains
Ensure you have no yeast excesses in your body (take cinnamon, oregano, Pau D’Arco and wormwood).
And eat fresh raw garlic.
Remember, research from North Western shows that if you lose excess weight you reduce risk and even improve survival times.
The book contains far more detailed advice.
Being overweight increases cancer risk – fact
Cancer Research UK have just researched 4,000 people and come up with the staggering fact that 97 per cent of people have no idea that being overweight is a significant cancer risk. Of course, had they read our report on the research we conducted 4 years ago they would have known that people haven’t much a clue what does cause cancer anyway. Indeed we went into all the key issues in our 2004 Cancer Prevention Conference, which was poorly attended by the ‘major’ charities.
As we have been telling people for seven years, it all depends which report you read, and how much overweight you are, but to be just 7 kgs overweight knocks over 5 years off your life expectancy, and a whopping 13 years if you smoke as well. .All this is well documented in my book, ‘Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer’ – indeed it has been there since the first edition some 7 years ago.
All this comes in parallel with new Swedish research showing overweight women tend to be diagnosed with higher grade cancers than ladies who have restrained their weight.
One of the real issues is that many overweight people are in denial. We have had ladies write to us with breast cancer and they are 13 kgs over normal weight for their height. One described herself as ‘cuddly’, another as ‘being a bit chunky’.
In our original 2004 prevention research, people stated that giving up smoking was important, as was avoiding excess alcohol, and staying out of the sun. As we pointed out at the time, ‘Burning is bad, sunshine is sensible’. 4 years ago there was too much bad science coming from cancer charities suggesting sunshine was carcinogenic. In fact there is actually a great deal of research that suggests that a daily dose of sun shine promotes vitamin D synthesis in the body, and reduces cancer risk. A few people also knew that exercise was a risk reducer. But, in all, few people knew any information about preventing cancer (unlike Heart disease or AIDS) and blame for this lack of information can only be laid at the doors of the Government and the cancer charities. It was in response to this research finding that CANCERactive decided to adopt the Precautionary Principle (that where there is expert research expressing concern, we will pass on that research information so that the people of Britain can make more informed choices). As a result just compare the volume of Prevention Topics we cover against those listed on the major charities web sites. Pesticides? EMF’s? Melatonin? Toxic Chemicals, from dioxins to oestrogen mimics in plastic bottles and preservatives?
Anyone who is unsure of the factors that may increase cancer risk should go to the prevention part of our web site where they will find more information on more possible causes than on any other UK charity web site. As you will see, we have given some weight to the issue of cancer prevention!
Men more likely to get cancer – the issue is why?
Men are almost 40 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer, reveals a report published by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).
And they are 16 per cent more likely to develop the disease in the first place.
After excluding breast cancer and cancers specific to one or other sex from the analysis, the difference is even greater – with men being almost 70 per cent more likely to die from cancer and over 60 per cent more likely to develop the disease.
The researchers then looked at the figures, excluding lung cancer as well, because the disease and its main risk factor, smoking, is known to be more common in men.They expected to see that, across the broad range of remaining cancer types, men and women were just as likely as each other to die from and get the disease. But they found that for all of these cancers combined, men were still 70 per cent more likely than women to die from cancer and 60 per cent more likely to get cancer.
Experts suggest that a possible explanation for the differences seen for some types of cancer could be down to stereotypical male behaviour – like down-playing important early symptoms and having an unhealthy lifestyle.
Even rogue cancer DNA repairs itself
CRUK scientists (Nature) have discovered a sensor which exists even in cancer cells. Some drugs try to damage cancer DNA. This sensor system is actually a family of proteins (alkyltransferase-like proteins or ATL’s) warns the cell and activates the DNA repair systems and so the drugs lose their effect.
Organic foods are better – ignore the UK Food Standards Agency
All over the UK papers comes news of the ‘ruling’ from the FSA that ‘organic food is no more nutritious than other foods’. According to that well known medical journal, the Daily Mail, ‘watchdogs’ have declared this to be true.
Claiming to be the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’ trawled through more than 50,000 studies on the value of foods since 1958.’ The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr Alan Dangour (a public health nutritionist, no less) who was the lead researcher stated that, ‘Currently there is no research to support the selection of organically produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority’.
Spokesperson Gill Fine from the FSA burbled on about, ‘Ensuring people had accurate information’ and ‘no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic foods’.
What staggers us at CANCERactive is that in order to resolve this very same question the EU has just spent £12 million of tax payers’ money conducting as near as can be, the definitive Clinical Trial, growing fields of organic food in parallel with normal pesticide and fertiliser-grown crops and then employing top scientists to give us the results. The FSA, which is after all a Government funded unit, ought to know this and use the data. And be clear, Gill: The ‘accurate information’ is that there is a considerable difference. And this is just from early assessments. The project will continue for a few more years yet, as that is how long it takes to be sure. Professor Carlo Leifert, one of the CANCERactive patrons, is a lead member of the team.We covered the early conclusions in this very magazine.
The Daily Mail falls into the usual ‘bad science’ trap too, meandering on about 50 years of research and 50,000 studies. But, the researchers didn’t use 50,000 studies, they used, sorry selected, 55 that ‘met their criteria’, whatever they were. So one concludes therefore they left out a mere 49,945 studies from their conclusions. Perhaps one was the definitive EU study?
Then there is Dr Alan ‘no evidence to support nutritional superiority’ Dangour. I quote about 10 - 15 such studies in my book ‘The Rainbow Diet – and how it can help you beat cancer’. Leifert and his team have a hundred more! What planet do these people live on? Al, old chap, there is rather a lot of scientific evidence actually; I cannot believe you think there is none..
But for the last word we will return to Gill ‘no additional health benefit’ Fine. All I can conclude is that she finds pesticides tasty and of absolutely harmless. Of course that view would put her directly at odds with the EU, which recently concluded that there were ‘deep concerns’ and cited health hazards including cancer as a need for more regulation. It is puzzling that Gill ‘ensuring people have accurate information’ Fine does not seem to be telling you all about research studies showing that farmers using pesticides develop more multiple myeloma, and another that this is due to the pesticide making pre-cancerous MGUS proteins in the blood, or (for example) that some third world suppliers to British retailers still use the banned pesticides of DDT and Lindane, each linked to higher rates of Breast Cancer. (If she is unsure, she could always trawl through back issues of Cancer Watch for more ‘accurate information’.)
For the record, there is concern that organic foods grown on depleted soils offer little in additional mineral content over mass-farmed foods. How could they? On basic vitamins there is quite a lot of evidence that organic food is superior, but sometimes not by much. The real advantage seems to come in the area of complex natural compounds (like resveratrol, quercitin, omega 3 or polyphenols) where organic foods score much more highly. For example, the use of fungicide negates the need for grapes to produce fungus fighting resveratrol of their own – several studies have measured this. And even 10 years ago researchers didn’t know too much about these compounds or their health benefits, and so did not research for them. How many such studies were in the ‘selected’ group?
Personally I don’t think everybody should rush off and buy everything organic – we have told you which foods research studies show are more likely to hold their pesticides, and which do not. So in a number of cases there is not a lot to worry about. But red fruits like strawberries and greens like broccoli do need extra caution before using the sprayed versions.
It is all very sad really. I think that the people, and especially the patients who want to beat cancer deserve better than this. But then, that’s why we set up CANCERactive.
Need to prevent thousands of older people dying from cancer, prematurely
As many as 15,000 people over 75 could be dying prematurely from cancer each year in the UK, according to research presented today at the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) conference.
These premature deaths could be prevented if cancer mortality rates in the UK dropped to match countries in Europe and America which have the lowest rates.
The researchers from the North West Cancer Intelligence Service (NWCIS) in Manchester compared cancer death rates in the UK with Europe and America.
They found that over the past decade the numbers of people dying from cancer in the under 75s has significantly dropped in the UK. But, little progress has been made in the over 75s and the gap in death rates with other countries is getting wider.
Dr Tony Moran, lead researcher from NWCIS, said “It’s worrying that so many older people die from cancer in the UK compared with other countries. But, it’s not clear why this is. Research is urgently needed to understand the reasons for the extra deaths so that steps can be taken to prevent them.
New scientific study reveals flaws, even fraud, in Clinical Trials
Scientific study. Clinical Trial, Gold Standard. Non Sequetor. Well, at least according to Dr Daniele Fanelli at the University of Edinburgh. In a recent study Fanelli lists findings such as
Most clinical results are misleading
Fanelli’s report states that the misconduct is more prevalent in clinical, medical, and pharmaceutical research. So much for the ‘gold standard’; but then he goes on to refer to the high profits at stake where a few word changes can make all the difference, even if it’s not fraud but ‘presentation’.
He also comments on studies that criticise vitamins suggesting that all too often, doses used are too low to have an effect, or the where vitamin tested is known not to have an effect on a particular disease whereas another, untested one, is.
All this coincides with a USA FDA report that reports deficiencies and flaws in up to 20 per cent of US drug clinical trials.