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This is some of the lastest news in the area of research on oral cancer.

In the past 10 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of oral cancer patients under the age of 30 who have no identifiable risk factors of contracting he disease.^

Description of how to do an oral self-examination, including pictures:

How to Help you With Chemotherapy Sideeffects

Actiq, narcotic painkiller that looks like a lollipop -- designed to speed relief to cancer patients. Patients taking this medication need to see their dentist every 3 months to have fluoride varnish placed at each recall because this product can produce rapid dental decay. Also-oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate.  You place the Actiq in your
mouth and it slowly dissolves.  It contains
inactive ingredients: Hydrated dextrates, citric acid, dibasic sodium phosphate, artificial berry flavor, magnesium stearate, modified food starch, and confectioner’s sugar.

Grover Cleveland's Secret Oral Surgery

On July 1, 1893, President Grover Cleveland noticed a rough place on the roof of his mouth. It was diagnosed as cancer, precipitating one of the most celebrated incidents in the history of Presidential medicine. Ultimately, on July 1, the President underwent a risky operation aboard his yacht. A whole left side of Cleveland's jaw was removed as well as a small portion of his soft palate. At his insistence, his illness and surgery were kept secret from the public, the press, the Cabinet, and the Vice President. A second, less risky operation was performed aboard the yacht on July 17. He was later fitted with a prosthesis of vulcanized rubber that he wore until his death, June 24, 1908. The illness did not become public knowledge until an article appeared September
22, 1917 in the Saturday Evening Post, written by William W. Keen who assisted in the surgery.

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Open Wide: Saliva Could Predict Cancer Risk
Researchers Isolate 'Biomarkers' In Bodily Fluids

Breast cancer screening and the early detection of other tumors could some day become as simple as spitting into a cup, according to recent studies.

Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles said they found in an early study that genetic biomarkers in saliva can predict oral squamous cell carcinoma -- a type of oral cancer --- in about nine out of 10 cases. A recent study published in Clinical Cancer Research found similar predictive powers for head and neck cancers.
The UCLA team collected saliva and blood samples from breast cancer patients and matched them with samples from patients without breast cancer.

Using new techniques, they compared the samples and found that both serum and saliva had unique genetic profiles.
Researchers said more study is needed on a larger sample of cancer patients to refine how the fluids can be used to predict cancer risks. They also said more study is needed to review precancers and other cancers that are more difficult to detect, such as ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

The biggest hurdle stems from the fact that salivary nucleic acids, or protein markers, might be influenced by eating, drinking, smoking, diet or oral hygiene. The goal is to provide the optimized and standardized protocol to assure consistent results.

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Management of Oral Care after Cancer Therapy

Scientists to Study Berries, Oral Cancer

University of Kentucky and Ohio State researchers are conducting a test to see if a common fruit is useful in slowing or preventing oral cancer. Scientists believe the black raspberry carries two acids that can inhibit tumor growth.  The researchers will put the theory to the test this summer in a trial at Ohio State by using a gel made from freeze-dried black raspberries.

Obviously we'd like to see these lesions completely disappear, but I think everyone would be happy just to see the whole process slowing down. Ninety-nine percent or more of these lesions will advance to cancer. Oral cancer, which causes up to 8,000 deaths nationally each year, is generally associated with alcohol and tobacco use.

The idea for a raspberry-based medication was conceived by doctors at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus. The raspberry gel was then developed by Mumper, the associate director at UK's Center for Pharmaceutical Science & Technology.

Natural foods advocates have touted the healthful benefits of raspberries for years. The trial at Ohio State is apparently is one of the first efforts by mainstream medicine to develop a medication from the fruit. The pulp of black raspberries contains two substances -- anthocyanin and ellagic acid -- that are thought to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to slow tumor growth.

Stoner found that when the powder was fed to test animals, it appeared to inhibit the development of esophageal and colon cancer as well as oral cancers.

In the trial, doctors will give the gel to 20 patients who have precancerous oral lesions and to 10 healthy patients as a control. The patients will apply the gel four times per day for six weeks.

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Osteonecrosis and Bisphosphonates

Osteonecrosis - a condition in which there is pain, swelling and bone damage around the tooth sockets in the jaws - can cause bone necrosis which can lead to loose teeth, sharp edges of exposed bone, bone spurs, and small parts of bone to dislodge. Dr. Robert Mark, a maxillofacial surgeon in Florida, began to see a pattern of this condition in patients who had been taking Aredia® or Zometa®, both bisphosphonates. He observed the risk of poor healing of the jaw, infection, and other problems that have caused the maker of these two drugs, Novartis, to add precautions to the package inserts. Aredia (pamidronate disodium) and Zometa (zoledronic acid) are commonly used for cancer therapy.
12/04 Smart Practice News Items

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High-Fat Food and Oral Cancer

Eating foods high in saturated fats may increase the risk of oral cancer, according to a Brazilian study, published in October's Oral Oncology. Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo found that people with oral cancer were more likely to regularly eat foods high in animal fat and saturated fat, including bacon, cheese, pork, and fried foods. Study authors found that eating non-cooked margarine or butter decreased the risk of oral cancer, most likely because these foods are a major source of protective vitamin A. Experts estimate that about 35 percent of cancers can be linked to diet, along with tobacco, alcohol intake, and sun exposure. Tobacco is the strongest risk factor with 75% of oral cancers occurring in people who smoke or use smokeless tobacco. 11/04

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Tongue cancers

 The most common cancers of the tongue are squamous cell cancers. The exact cause of tongue cancer is unknown. However, the following lifestyle factors may be related: 
• Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe
• Use of chewing tobacco, snuff, or other tobacco products
• Heavy alcohol consumption

Symptoms of tongue cancer may include:
• Skin lesion, lump, or ulcer on the tongue
• Difficulty swallowing
• Mouth sores
• Numbness or difficulty moving the tongue
• Change in speech (due to inability to move the tongue over the teeth when speaking)

Life without a tongue 

Some cancers of the tongue require either a partial or total glossectomy. Factors influencing prosthetic prognosis of restoring the tongue include the presence or absence of teeth and the type of procedure that is combined with the glossectomy . Patients with partial glossectomy (usually less than 50 percent of the tongue removed) suffer minimal functional impairment and require no prosthetic intervention. Removal of more than 50 percent of the tongue requires construction of a palatal or lingual augmentation prosthesis. 

Total glossectomy causes a large oral cavity, loss of verbal communication, and pooling of saliva and liquid. Patients with a total glossectomy require a total tongue prosthesis. In dentulous patients, such a prosthesis can be attached to the mandibular teeth through a lower partial denture. 

In edentulous patients, tongue prosthesis can be retained to either a mandibular or maxillary denture. Common problems associated with tongue prosthesis include lack of salivary control and loss of ability to maneuver food. Therefore, it is best to fabricate two prosthetic tongues, one for swallowing and one for speech. 

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Protect your pucker: To prevent lip cancer, don't forget to keep 'em covered

    Oral cavity cancers are generally caused by tobacco use. But sun is the major cause of lip cancer. Surgery to excise the cancer, followed by reconstruction of the lip, and radiation are the primary treatment methods. As with any cancer, if it's allowed to go ahead and spread, it can certainly be devastating to one's health. Fortunately, if you were to pick a type of cancer to have in the head or neck area, your conventional lip cancers are very very treatable in the early stages. And they are treatable without much morbidity.

    Lip cancer, often discovered by dentists, appears most often on the lower lip and most commonly affects people over 45. But fair-skinned people and anyone exposed to sunlight for long periods of time are at risk, the group warns. The cancer is most prevalent in men.  Lip cancer often looks like a crusting or sore on the lip that does not go away. If left untreated, the cancer can spread to lymph nodes and lungs.

Not smoking and protecting oneself from the sun by wearing hats that provide cover for one's face, using sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and lip balms with an SPF. Limiting sun exposure is important not only in the summer, but also in the winter."The higher you go with the SPF, the better.

Health officials have observed a steady increase in skin cancer cases over the past two decades. Lip cancer facts:

bulletLip cancer is most commonly a squamous cell carcinoma, affecting areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun for prolonged periods.
bulletWarning signs of squamous cell cancer include:
bulletA wart-like growth that crusts and occasionally bleeds.
bulletA persistent, scaly red patch with irregular borders that sometimes crusts or bleeds.
bulletAn open sore that bleeds and crusts and persists for weeks.
bulletAn elevated growth with a central depression that occasionally bleeds. A growth of this type may rapidly increase in size.
  •      Regardless of appearance, any change in a preexisting skin growth, the development of a new growth or an open sore that fails to heal, should prompt an immediate visit to a physician. If it is a precursor condition, early treatment will prevent it from developing into a squamous cell carcinoma. Often, all that is needed is a simple surgical procedure or application of a topical chemotherapeutic agent.
    Source: The Skin Cancer Foundation 
    By Jon Brodkin / News Staff WriterTuesday, July 13, 2004

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  • Oral sex can lead to oral tumors, according to a US study published in the New Scientist. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection that has been known to cause cervical cancers. However, studies have suggested it also plays a role in other cancers, including oral cancer.  Out of those, 1,670 people had oral cancer, the people with oral cancers containing the HPV16 strain the most commonly seen strain in cervical cancer were three times as likely to report having had oral sex . We have known for some time that there is a small but significant group of people with oral cancer whose disease cannot be blamed on decades of smoking and drinking, because they're too young. In this group there must be another factor, and HPV and oral sex seems to be one likely explanation. 

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    Orange You Glad?
    Eating an orange a day may be one of the secrets to living younger longer.

    According to study results, a mere one extra serving of citrus fruits each day may reduce the risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx, and stomach by as much as 50 percent. Researchers credit the antioxidant properties of vitamin C-rich citrus fruits for the possible cancer-fighting benefits.

    RealAge Benefit: Getting 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C per day from food and supplements can make your RealAge as much as 1 year younger.

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    Green tea halts growth of oral cancer cells and breaks down and kills existing oral cancer.  

    Ingesting or swishing with green tea introduces the tea polyphenols to the oral cancer cells which may be present in the mouth.  The polyphenols are antioxidants, which work to remove the free radicals (oxidants) that cause mutation of genes, which may lead to cancerous growth to prevent gene mutations from the actions of the oxidants and cause cell death in cancerous cells without harming the normal cells.  They can also inhibit the growth and spread of cancerous cells.  The mouth's mucous lining must be exposed to four to six cups of green tea a day^^

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    Safe Sun Recommendations:


     Limit time in the sun.


     Minimize sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 p.m.


    Wear a wide-brimmed hat.


     Stay in the shade whenever possible.


     Make sun safety a family habit.


    Apply Zilactin®-Lip with SPF 24 all year

    For information on : Lip Cancer

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    New Facts on Cancer Incidence for Oral Cancer for

    There was a total of 9 cases of oral cancer out of the total number of 395 cancer cases as reported for the Panhandle area of Nebraska for the year of 2001.  The facts from this report revealed that there was more cancer found in female (6 ) than males (3); there was 1 case of lip cancer; 4 cases of tongue cancer, l case of salivary gland cancer, 2 cases of gum/mouth cancer, and 1 case of pharynx, other bucca.   

    2001 Cancer Treatment Center Annual Report, pg 6-7, Oct 2002

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    Children Deserve Special Sun Care

    Children tend to be outside far more than adults. And, since the harmful effects of sun exposure accumulate over a lifetime, it is especially important for children to practice and learn safe sun habits. The simple rules for children are:

    bulletPlay in the shade.
    bulletCover up.
    bulletUse protective lip balm and sunscreen.**

    Scientists from two universities have discovered that green and black teas contain certain substances called polyphenols which appear to eliminate cells that cause oral cancer!  In most the cases with squamous (scaly or plate-like ) carcinoma the teas caused almost complete destruction of the subjects' tumor "nests".

    Oral Cancer Self Test

    Source: Dentistry Today April 2001 pg 41.
    ** Zila Company
    ^^Dentalnotes, Winter 2001 pg 1
    ^AGD Impact, Dec 2002.

    The Order of Dentists of Quebec, (ODQ), published Early Detection of Oral Cancer: Dentists can make a difference in their February 2004 Journal. This 48 page supplement is available on line in a downloadable file at

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    February 06, 2008

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