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Early Stage Oral Cancer- Curative Therapy with Few Side Effects?

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“PDT provides a surgical oncologic modality for potentially curative treatment of early stage oral cavity and laryngeal malignancies with minimal side effects, absence of systemic toxicity, preservation of oral function and voice quality…”

This blog post is as much about collateral damage aka side effects as it is about curative cancer therapy for early stage oral cancer. I am writing the blog because cancer patients don’t know what they don’t know. It is common to be diagnosed with early stage oral cancer and  rely solely on your oncologist for a therapy plan. If this therapy plan include surgery and or radiation then you may be in for a lifetime of lowered quality of life.

Diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma

I am a cancer survivor and cancer coach. I underwent radiation to my neck when I was beginning treatment for my cancer back in early 1994. One of the many side effects I developed is called Xerostomia or dry mouth.

If you have any treatment for your oral cancer, you want to avoid dry mouth if you can. Believe me.

The studies linked and excerpted below cites photodynamic therapy (PDT) as well as evidence-based but non-conventional therapies as being effective in treating oral cancer as are other therapies but results in minimal side effect. Minimal collateral damage.

Click now to learn more about larynx cancer

I am a long-term cancer survivor and a cancer coach. Please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Oral cancer

Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer,[1] is a type of head and neck cancer and is any cancerous tissue growth located in the oral cavity.[2]

There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90% are squamous cell carcinomas,[3] originating in the tissues that line the mouth and lips…

In 2013 oral cancer resulted in 135,000 deaths up from 84,000 deaths in 1990.[4] Five-year survival rates in the United States are 63%.[5]

PHOTOFRIN-mediated photodynamic therapy for treatment of early stage oral cavity and laryngeal malignancies*

“Conclusion- PHOTOFRIN-mediated PDT provides a surgical oncologic modality for potentially curative treatment of early stage oral cavity and laryngeal malignancies with minimal side effects, absence of systemic toxicity, preservation of oral function and voice quality, with multiple drug administration, and laser light retreatment capability…”

Curcumin inhibits oral squamous cell carcinoma proliferation and invasion via EGFR signaling pathways

“Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is an effective molecular target of anti-cancer therapies. Curcumin is known to inhibit growth, invasion and metastasis by downregulating EGFR expression in some cancer cells.

However, the mechanism underlying the effect of curcumin in human oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) remains unclear.

In this study, we investigated the efficacy of curcumin on proliferation and invasion in SCC-25 cell line. We also explored the effect of curcumin on the activition of EGFR and its downstream signaling molecules Akt, ERK1/2 and STAT3.

Furthermore, we examined the inhibition effect of curcumin on EGF-induced EGFR phosphorylation and SCC-25 cells invasion. Our results showed that curcumin inhibited SCC-25 cells proliferation and induced G2/M phase arrest in a dose-dependent manner. Curcumin also inhibited SCC-25 cells invasion and downregulated MMP-2, MMP-9, uPA and uPAR expression.

We further revealed that curcumin regulated the p-EGFR and EGFR downstream signaling molecules including Akt, ERK1/2 and STAT3. Finally, our data showed that crucumin reduced the EGF-induced phosphorylation of EGFR and suppressed EGF-triggered SCC-25 cells invasion. Taken together, our results suggest that curcumin reduced SCC-25 cells proliferation and invasion through inhibiting the phosphorylation of EGFR and EGFR downstream signaling molecules Akt, ERK1/2 and STAT3…”

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Oral Cancer Prevention and Treatment

According to new research from scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, Omega-3 fatty acids(n-3 PUFAs), contained in oily fish such as salmon and trout, selectively inhibit growth and induce cell death in early and late-stage oral and skin cancers.

In vitro tests showed that the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acidor EPA and its metabolite docosahexaenoic acid orDHA induced cell death in malignant and pre-malignant cells at doses which did not affect normal cells, suggesting they have the potential to be used in both the treatment and prevention of certain skin and oral cancers. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be made by humans in large quantities and so we must acquire them from our diet…”

Modulating effect of resveratrol and quercetin on oral cancer cell growth and proliferation

“Resveratrol and quercetin are polyphenols which have been detected in significant amounts in green vegetables, citrus fruits and red grape wines. Beneficial effects attributed to these compounds include

  • anti-inflammatory,
  • antiviral and
  • antitumor properties.

The effect of resveratrol and quercetin on growth of human oral cancer cells is unknown. Resveratrol and quercetin, in concentrations of 1 to 100 microM, were incubated in triplicates with human oral squamous carcinoma cells SCC-25 in DMEM-HAM’s F-12 supplemented with fetal calf serum and antibiotics in an atmosphere of 5% CO2 in air at 37 degrees C for 72 h. Cell growth was determined by counting the number of viable cells with a hemocytometer.

Cell proliferation was measured by means of incorporation of [3H]thymidine in nuclear DNA. Resveratrol at 10 and 100 microM induced significant dose-dependent inhibition in cell growth as well as in DNA synthesis. Quercetin exhibited a biphasic effect, stimulation at 1 and 10 microM, and minimal inhibition at 100 microM in cell growth and DNA synthesis. Combining 50 microM of resveratrol with 10, 25 and 50 microM of quercetin resulted in a gradual and significant increase in the inhibitory effect of quercetin on cell growth and DNA synthesis.

We conclude that resveratrol or a combination of resveratrol and quercetin, in concentrations equivalent to that present in red wines, are effective inhibitors of oral squamous carcinoma cell (SCC-25) growth and proliferation, and warrant further investigation as cancer chemopreventive agents…”

Leave a Comment:

Aaron says 5 years ago

My girlfriend has been diagnosed with high risk hpv 16 related cervical neoplastic growths.
I have noticed some small odd growths and a large painless tonsil to one side,
I am 20 and have only had these symptoms for a year or so at least I would assume.
Is there any benefit to me trying PDT now as a precaution , if I were to possibly eventually get oral cancer ?

    David Emerson says 5 years ago

    Hi Aaron,

    Several things. My understanding is that cervical neoplastic grows as well as your own “small odd growths” are not cancer. Undergoing any therapy brings potential risks and side effects. Therefore, undergoing PDT would expose you to risks that only cancer patients would risk.

    Secondly, while the research is preliminary, a nutritional supplement called AHCC, according to the article linked below, has been shown to get rid of HPV. The article doesn’t specify if all strains are eradicated but this simple therapy might be worth a try.

    I wrote about this subject awhile ago- AHCC, HPV, Integrative Cervical Cancer Therapy

    Mushroom extract, AHCC, helpful in treating HPV

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    David Emerson

Oncosurgeon for Mouth cancer says 6 years ago

I read your Blog is a very useful for my knowledge Thank you for your great blog i really like it..

Oncosurgeon Lasers in Cancer Treatment
Laser light can be used to remove cancer or precancerous growths or to relieve symptoms of cancer. It is used most often to treat cancers on the surface of the body or the lining of internal organs.
Laser therapy is often given through a thin tube called an endoscope, which can be inserted in openings in the body to treat cancer or precancerous growths inside the trachea (windpipe), esophagus, stomach, or colon.
However, the effects of laser surgery may not be permanent, so the surgery may have to be repeated.
Laser therapy uses high-intensity light to treat cancer and other illnesses. Lasers can be used to shrink or destroy tumors or precancerous growths. Lasers are most commonly used to treat superficial cancers (cancers on the surface of the body or the lining of internal organs) such as basal cell skin cancer and the very early stages of some cancers, such as cervical, penile, vaginal, vulvar, and non-small cell lung cancer. Lasers also may be used to relieve certain symptoms of cancer, such as bleeding or obstruction. For example, lasers can be used to shrink or destroy a tumor that is blocking a patient’s trachea (windpipe) or esophagus. Lasers also can be used to remove colon polyps or tumors that are blocking the colon or stomach. Laser therapy can be used alone, but most often it is combined with other treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. In addition, lasers can seal nerve endings to reduce pain after surgery and seal lymph vessels to reduce swelling and limit the spread of tumor cells.
Thank you,
Dr. Rusy Bhalla

David Barry says 6 years ago

Hi David,
I came across your page here and am hopeful about the use of PDT.

I was just diagnosed with squamous cancer that first showed in my lymphnode at base of my neck on left side and after PET scan showed lesions on my tongue. It has not spread to anywhere else in my body.

I’ve searched the web and found many articles but can’t find which cancer centers are now doing this treatment. Can you help me. I see that Roswell Park Cancer Institute in NY is open for enrollment to a clinical trial.

Can you help me.

    David Emerson says 6 years ago

    Hi David-

    You are correct. There are many articles on the Internet citing photodynamic therapy for squamous cell oral cancer. Yes, Roswell is running a clinical trial.

    Are you saying that you do not want to go to Roswell for some reason? There are many oral cancers listed in the clinical trial description. The center must be experienced with the therapy.

    If you do not want to go to upstate NY, let’s look at this a different way. Where do you live? I will search cancer centers that list PDT on their websites accordingly.

    David Emerson

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