Wednesday Weekly - 19 April 2017

Progress is being made in NZ in publicising the incidence of head and neck cancers and gaining resources to fight them. Progress still feels slow compared to some other countries though (see stories below) and there’s a long way to go – but the trajectory is definitely upward.

Meanwhile consider: A line of paint on the road holds more authority than I ever will or maybe.  It's been 82 years. Schrödinger's cat is definitely dead by now. Check it out here..

April is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month (New York) –

April is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month and physicians in the Mount Sinai Health System are sharing tips on early prevention and urging high-risk groups to get screened.

Oral, head and neck cancers are among the fastest rising cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 50,000 Americans will get oral cavity and oropharynx (throat) head and neck cancers in 2017. The American Academy of Otolaryngology says 110,000 people are diagnosed with these cancers in the United States every year, and 550,000 are diagnosed worldwide.

They are prevalent in the tongue, throat, voice box, nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, thyroid, and salivary glands. Screening is critical for early detection especially while cancer is in its curable stages. “The best chance of effectively treating these cancers is early on in the disease and that’s why identification of tumors in their earliest stage improves a patient’s likelihood of survival and the patient’s ability to speak and swallow normally after treatment.” said Ilya Likhterov, MD, Assistant Professor, Otolaryngology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “It is very important to have your mouth examined and pay attention to symptoms such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, or if you notice any wound or ulcer in the mouth that is not healing quickly.”


• Smokers generally develop head and neck cancer is in their 60’s.

• Men are twice as likely to be affected because of smoking patterns.

• For HPV-related throat cancer, non-smoking males age 35 to 55 are at highest risk, although doctors are starting to see more cases arise in women.

• Initial symptoms or oral, head and neck cancer include a sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal, sore throat, trouble swallowing, lumps or patches in the mouth, changes in voice, or a lump in neck.

• 50 percent of people with head and neck cancers have very advanced cases by the time they first see a doctor.

Full story:

Immunotherapy Beating Cancer, Offers New Hope for Patients (U.S.)

EVIDENCE is mounting that the type of cancer treatment known as immunotherapy is offering patients a better chance at beating the dreaded disease. The Food and Drug Administration in March approved two new immunotherapy drugs. Keytruda was approved for Hodgkin’s lymphoma to treat patients for whom all other treatments have failed.

In addition, Bavencio was okayed to treat metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer. Like other immunotherapy agents, these drugs received accelerated approval, an indication of the FDA’s growing faith in the power of these drugs to help cancer patients.

In addition to those cited above, immunotherapy drugs have been approved for treating melanoma, lung cancer, bladder, head, and neck cancers. “It’s incredible. It’s changed the paradigm in the way we treat lung cancer," Dr. Roy Herbst tells Newsmax Health.

Immunotherapy acts differently than conventional chemotherapy. Conventional drugs target fast-growing cells in the body. Cancer cells divide rapidly, but so do normal cells in your blood, mouth, intestinal tract, nose, nails, and hair. The loss of these normal cells is the reason why chemotherapy causes side effects such as hair loss, nausea, intestinal problems, and fatigue. In contrast, immunologic agents harness the power of the body's own immune defenses – long a goal of alternative medicine practitioners – to recognize and fight only the cancerous cells.

Full story:

You'd think with all his vampiric abilities helping him get ahead, Dracula would hold a higher position than Count. It's been 82 years. Schrödinger's cat is definitely dead by now.

Diana Ayling

You need to be a member of Head & Neck Cancer Support Network to add comments!

Join Head & Neck Cancer Support Network