Weekly Wednesday 20 March 2019

20 March 2018

This we look at asprin and survival of head and neck cancer patients,

Collection and use of medical data, the risks of opioid misuse, the cost of chronic pain to New Zealand, and mental health issues and aHNC diagnosis..#headnecknz #hnc #hnca

Can Aspirin Use Improve Survival in Certain Patients With Head and Neck Cancer?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin may help improve the chance of survival for some patients with cancer, according to a new study.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that regular use of aspirin may be effective against some types of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). For the study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Arizona analyzed a group of 266 patients with HNSCC who had their tumors surgically removed and were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

The researchers found that regular aspirin use dramatically improved survival for patients with mutations in a gene called PIK3A, which is the most commonly altered oncogene in HNSCC. Thirty-four percent of all tumors in HNSCC carry mutations that activate PIK3A, according to the study. Twenty-eight percent of the tumors in the study had an activating alteration of the PIK3A gene.


Collection, use of consumer data puts sensitive health information at risk, groups say

The information that consumers share online, including sensitive health data, is being collected, shared with third parties and sold, often without consumers’ awareness.

That is putting consumers’ privacy at risk, according to many federal lawmakers and civil rights groups at a hearing on Capitol Hill this week. Read more...

Patients with head and neck cancer may be at risk for opioid misuse

Jessica D. McDermott

Patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer appeared likely to receive opioids for pain management during treatment, and a significant number continued to use them 3 and 6 months later, according to a study published in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

“We felt like it was a long-term problem for some of our head and neck patients, but we didn’t know how much of a problem,” Jessica D. McDermott, MD, investigator at University of Colorado Cancer Center and assistant professor at CU School of Medicine, said in a press release. “You shouldn’t need opioids at the 6-month point.” Read more….

Chronic pain comes at a huge financial and emotional cost but New Zealand lacks an action plan

It started with a fractured pelvis which Deb Thompson assumed would "come right" with rest and time - but six years on her chronic pain remains.

Attempts to bring the unseen and lingering condition under control proved fruitless with all her doctors' suggestions and two hip operations making little difference to Thompson's quality of life.

"The mentality is that you can fix everything but some things can't be fixed ... it's really hard to get your head around."

Read more…

Mental health disorders more common after head and neck cancer diagnosis

Findings from a cohort study of more than 52,000 patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer revealed that the prevalence of mental health disorders increased after they received the cancer diagnosis.

Although prior research has found a link between mental health disorders (MHDs) and head and neck cancer (HNC), large-scale analysis is needed, Neerav Goyal, MD, MPH, from the division of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and colleagues wrote.


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

Diana Ayling

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

Join Head & Neck Cancer Support Network


  • Most (if not all) of the mental health disorders mentioned above derive from the lack of communication, information and plain simple help on offer to patients when thay actually need it.  Just telling patients they needed something at an earlier stage of their treatment is of no value and is just another platitude that causes distress.  No wornder patient suicide is rife in NZ.

This reply was deleted.

Happy with your treatment experience?

Please share your thoughts on your recent treatment experience. This can be at any stage of your cancer journey, pre treatment, treatment, post treatment, and survivorship. 

You can take our survey as many times as you like, and we encourage you to have your family/whanau and carers share their thoughts as well. Click the link to share your thoughts.



Donations are always welcome

Donate via Givealittle

Or, you can put a little bit of money in our Kiwibank account!


Upcoming Events

Cancer Dictionary