Epidemiology of Larynx Cancer

I was a typical patient when diagnosed with larynx cancer, though at the younger end of the spectrum being just 51.  I had a 30 year pack a day smoking history, to which I attribute my demise.

A recent small-scale study has given an indication  of what may be seen in the future.  The incidence of head and neck cancer has increased for many years, despite changes in smoking habits. because of the contribution of the human papilloma virus (HPV).

The increase in cases has been accompanied by a change in the age profile, with patients presenting at a much younger age than before. The recent study into glottic cancer revealed many of the younger patients were non-smokers but tissue analysis revealed high-risk strains of HPV.

The research is reported here        LINK

Aspirin and Head and Neck Cancer

Painkillers Increase Survival Chances of Head and Neck Patients

Several UK papers have reported research has recently been published that demonstrated a significant survival benefit for head and neck cancer patients who take common painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen (NSAIDs). The Daily Express reported researchers from UC San Francisco have found 5 year survival is increased from 25% to 78% in some patients who take NSAIDs regularly for at least 6 months. Aspirin was the painkiller most commonly taken by patients in the study.

However this benefit is not seen in all head and neck patients but only those with a mutation of a particular gene (PIK3CA) saw the increase in survival prospects. Around one quarter of head and neck patients have this altered gene.

This news may not be as good as it first appears. There are many people who cannot take NSAIDs. The drugs can have some unfortunate side-effects. Aspirin can cause bleeding and others significantly increase risks of stroke and heart attack and raise blood pressure with prolonged use. The proportion of patients who are tested for the gene mutation is uncertain so it may be that very few patients would be aware if taking the painkillers would benefit them.

The research paper is available HERE

The Express article is  HERE