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The after effects of cancer treatment are many - and  generally unpleasant. Keeping those effects to a minimum is often a major task with things like nutrition  and mental health to consider.  Just keeping fit and active can be a major challenge, but, as  the rather intense  article below indicates, it is worthwhile.


Resistance Training, Nutritional Interventions Prevent Muscle Loss During, After Radiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer

(U.K.)_ Intervention with resistance training and nutritional supplements during and after radiotherapy is not only feasible, but may also prevent muscle mass loss and improve quality of life in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC), according to a study published in Cancer.

Radiotherapy is a standard treatment for patients with HNC, but patients who undergo treatment experience many adverse events (AEs). AEs such as mucositis and dry mouth can eventually lead to swallowing dysfunction, decreased food intake, malnutrition, and muscle loss.

This trial randomly assigned 41 patients with HNC to receive an exercise and nutrition intervention during radiotherapy (EN-DUR) or after (EN-AF).  Patients assigned to EN-DUR initiated treatment in the first week of radiotherapy and continued for 6 weeks. Patients in the EN-AF group initiated a 3-week intervention 2 to 4 weeks after radiotherapy. The intervention consisted of progressive resistance training (PRT) and oral nutritional supplementation (ONS).

Of the patients who initiated EN-DUR, 90% (18 of 20) of patients completed the intervention. Adherence to PRT was 81% and 57% for ONS. Of the patients who initiated EN-AF, 52% (11 of 21) of patients completed the intervention. Adherence to PRT was 94% and 76% for ONS.

Both interventions were effective in preventing the loss of muscle mass during radiotherapy, and there was no demonstrable difference in muscle mass between the 2 groups from baseline to week 14.

The  results show that PRT and ONS are feasible and effective interventions for patients with HNC receiving radiotherapy. The investigators conclude that “interventions both during and after RT appear to mitigate muscle wasting compared with standard care, calling for future trials to assess the feasibility and effects of extended interventions conducted throughout the treatment trajectory.”

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Scientists deliver knock-out blow to multiple cancers

(U.K.)Targeting healthy cells that have been hijacked by cancer cells could help treat many different types of the disease, according to research* funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

"We can see exciting possibilities for targeting CAFs in many patients who don’t respond well to existing therapies.” - Professor Gareth Thomas
Scientists found that targeting an enzyme known as NOX4 stops the action of a type of cell called cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs), reducing the size of tumours in mice by up to 50 per cent.**

Fibroblasts are healthy cells whose role is to hold different types of organs together. When they are hijacked by cancer cells, they become CAFs and are known to help tumours grow, spread and evade therapy.  Until now, attempts to target them have proved unsuccessful.

In line with previous studies, the team at the University of Southampton  found that higher levels of CAFs were associated with poorer survival in several cancers including bowel, head and neck cancers.

For the first time, they identified that NOX4 is needed for CAFs to form and help tumours grow in many cancer types. But they could stop this happening by blocking NOX4 using a drug that is being developed to treat a condition called organ fibrosis.

These findings could form the basis for new treatments and help make cancers respond better to existing drugs. Cancer Research UK is now funding the Southampton scientists to see if this approach improves treatments like immunotherapy and chemotherapy to make them more effective.

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Common causes of head and neck cancer

(India) India is known as the ‘Mouth Cancer Capital of the world’ as around 57% cases of global head and neck cancers are seen in India. With more than 2,00,000 cases of head and neck cancers reported in India, tongue and mouth cancers contribute to more than 1/3rd of the cases every year. And the cause of this is attributed to the excessive use of chewable tobacco.

Dr Prashant Pawar, Head & Neck Onco-Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Mulund says   tobacco is one of the most common causes of head and neck cancer. Time and again, it is been emphasised that excessive use of  tobacco including smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes and chewing tobacco can lead to head and neck cancer. Not just this, even the use of smokeless tobacco is associated with head and neck cancer, especially oral cancer. So stay away from paan, paan masala, gutkha, bidis, cigarettes and other forms of tobacco to lower your risk of head and neck cancer.  

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