Caffeinated Coffee Reduces the Risk of Oral Cancer?

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The coffee is always good at Ronnie’s Diner

Yes, I am delighted to say, according to a new study.

A new American Cancer Society study finds a strong inverse association between caffeinated coffee intake and oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. The authors say people who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day were at about half the risk of death of these often fatal cancers compared to those who only occasionally or who never drank coffee. The study is published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The authors say more research is needed to elucidate the biologic mechanisms that could be at work.

Previous epidemiologic studies have suggested that coffee intake is associated with reduced risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer. To explore the finding further, researchers examined associations of caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea intake with fatal oral/pharyngeal cancer in the Cancer Prevention Study II, a prospective U.S. cohort study begun in 1982 by the American Cancer Society.

The findings are novel in that they are based specifically upon fatal cases of oral/pharyngeal cancer occurring over a 26-year period in a population of prospectively-followed individuals who were cancer-free at enrollment in Cancer Prevention Study II.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancers,” said lead author Janet Hildebrand, MPH. “Although it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer is among the ten most common cancers in the world. Our finding strengthens the evidence of a possible protective effect of caffeinated coffee in the etiology and/or progression of cancers of the mouth and pharynx. It may be of considerable interest to investigate whether coffee consumption can lead to a better prognosis after oral/pharyngeal cancer diagnosis.”

Further study is needed, but I say a win-win if the results are supported by the evidence!


Beastie Boy’s Singer Adam Yauch Dies of Rare Salivary Gland Cancer

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 Quite a shame, but this cancer is rare.

Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, died Friday after a long battle with salivary gland cancer, according to multiple reports.  He was 47 years old.

Yauch announced in 2009 that he had been diagnosed and was being treated for cancer of the parotid glands and lymph nodes.  There are three major pairs of salivary glands – sublingual, submandibular and parotid, the biggest of the glands.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, salivary gland cancer is very rare, only affecting two out of 100,000 adults each year in the U.S.

But, recognizing some warning signs is important.

Genden said that while Yauch’s case is tragic, it is still very uncommon.  However, he hopes for people to be aware of potential symptoms of salivary gland cancer, which include trouble swallowing, pain or numbness in the face, and most notably, a large lump in the neck.

“It’s not that it’s preventable, but this is the kind of thing that with careful screening and good examinations, you should be fine. The sooner you seek medical attention, the better chance for survival.”

So, if there are any doubts, discuss it with your dentist or physician.


Many Patients Continue to Smoke Even After Being Diagnosed With Cancer

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Commercial for the California Dept of Health Services

Unbelievable, isn’t it?

A new analysis has found that a substantial number of lung and colorectal cancer patients continue to smoke after being diagnosed. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study provides valuable information on which cancer patients might need help to quit smoking.

When a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, the main focus is to treat the disease. But stopping smoking after a cancer diagnosis is also important because continuing to smoke can negatively affect patients’ responses to treatments, their subsequent cancer risk, and, potentially, their survival. Elyse R. Park, PhD, MPH, of the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, led a team that looked to see how many patients quit smoking around the time of a cancer diagnosis, and which smokers were most likely to quit.

The investigators determined smoking rates around the time of diagnosis and five months after diagnosis in 5,338 lung and colorectal cancer patients. At diagnosis, 39 percent of lung cancer patients and 14 percent of colorectal cancer patients were smoking; five months later, 14 percent of lung cancer patients and 9 percent of colorectal cancer patients were still smoking. These results indicate that a substantial minority of cancer patients continue to smoke after being diagnosed. Also, although lung cancer patients have higher rates of smoking at diagnosis and following diagnosis, colorectal cancer patients are less likely to quit smoking following diagnosis.

Obviously, some patients, even after having cancer, have a hard time breaking the addictive cycle of nicotine.

Physicians and dentists must develop strategies to help these patients quit and quit for good.


In Women, Smoking is Closely Associated With Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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According to a new study.

Women who have non-melanoma skin cancers are more likely to have smoked cigarettes compared to women without skin cancer, said researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., who published study results in a recent issue of Cancer Causes Control.

The researchers concluded that:

  •     Cigarette smoking was associated with non-melanoma skin cancer, and the risk increased with increasing dose (cigarettes per day) and number of years smoked.
  •     Among men, smoking was modestly associated with BCC andSCC.
  •     Among women, smoking was strongly associated with SCC, but not BCC.

So, if you don’t smoke, don’t start.

If you do smoke, cut back and then quit….


Poll Watch: Smoking Rates Range From a High of 29% in Kentucky to Low of 11% in Utah

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According to the latest Gallup Poll

Nationwide, smoking rates range from a high of 29% in Kentucky to a low of 11% in Utah, according to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data collected in the first half of 2011.

Each day, Gallup and Healthways ask 1,000 Americans, “Do you smoke?” The January-June 2011 results are based on 177,600 interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. These results provide a preliminary picture of 2011 state smoking rates, ahead of the final full-year data, which will be available in early 2012.

As the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout Thursday urges smokers to attempt to quit their habit, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index finds an average of 21% of all Americans saying they smoke in the first half of this year. This has gone unchanged since Gallup and Healthways started tracking Americans’ smoking habits in 2008.

So far this year, there are 18 states with smoking rates lower than 20%, compared with 8 states in 2010, 11 in 2009, and 10 in 2008. There are 11 states with rates of 25% or higher, fairly similar to recent years.

Here is the chart:

Gallup has found that the American national smoking rate is stuck at around 21%. This is historically lower than from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s where the rate was close to 40%.

Let’s see if with better education we can lower that rate.

Today is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout
– please if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, then please quit.