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09 Jun 2022

Tongue Cancer from all angles: what can we do better?

  • VCCC Alliance

Tackling cancer from every angle

A series of five interactive educational webinars have been developed by Professor David Wiesenfeld, VCCC Alliance Research and Education Lead for Head and Neck Cancer, to address key questions in the management and treatment of tongue cancer under a multidisciplinary lens.

The number of patients presenting with tongue cancer seems to be increasing. Women who don’t smoke or drink are being diagnosed and there may be an increase in patient mortality.

The online series features an exploration into the patient perspective with Dr Norman Swan, a multi-award-winning producer, broadcaster, and investigative journalist engaging in an instructive and moving discussion with people affected by tongue cancer.

The free, live one-hour webinars will illustrate the multidisciplinary nature of disease management and the need for the incorporation of all treatment modalities to achieve optimal outcomes. The series will also highlight cutting-edge science from across the VCCC Alliance that could improve outcomes for this patient group.

Optimising multidisciplinary care for patients with tongue cancer

Issues central to patients will be used to illustrate the multidisciplinary nature of disease management, and the series will educate clinicians currently providing care for patients with tongue cancer by:

  • Identifying and setting the standard for optimal care for oral cancer treatment including surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy
  • Demonstrating how to identify patients who are at higher risk of failure
  • Sharing ongoing research in early detection and the emerging therapeutic options for early and advanced tongue cancers
  • Demonstrating how recent advances in the management of oral tongue cancer can be applied.

Epidemiology, diagnosis staging and treatment planning

The first session of the series, held on Tuesday 7 June, began with Prof David Wiesenfeld, alongside Ankur Singh, Lecturer in Epidemiology at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health and Research Fellow in Oral Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne exploring a host of factors that impact initial presentation and referral.

Clinical ethicist Clare Delaney, Sevastijan Kranz, Ernest Lekgabe and Anthony Cardin also discussed diagnosis, staging and treatment planning.

Register for upcoming seminars

Participants can register for one or all of the webinars: the content for each one is independent of the others in the series.

In the second webinar on Tuesday 14 June, Dr Norman Swan spends an hour chatting with Gretchen, Lora and Jimmy about what it means to receive a tongue cancer diagnosis, the challenges they have faced, the effect the disease has had on their lives and families, and what they would urge clinicians to consider in their relationships with patients.

The third webinar on Tuesday 21 June will focus on surgery and reconstruction, as we meet the team that manages all aspects of surgical intervention from preparing the patient through to reconstruction and the protection and restoration of functional outcomes. Hear from Rebecca Barnett, Carrie Service, David Rowe, Tim Wong, Ben Dixon Anand Ramakrishnan and Andrea Jackson.

The fourth webinar on Wednesday 6 July will focus on systemic and radiation therapy, and survivorship. Understand more about the latest therapeutic approaches including immunotherapy. Explore radiation oncology innovation and learn about survivorship best practice in speech, diet, survivorship and surveillance. This session will feature a consumer panel led by Maria Ftanou, head of the Clinical Psychology Department at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne and a Research Fellow at the School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne.

The fifth and final webinar on Tuesday 19 July will explore when things don't go well, how to manage failure and the future research outlook. Learn about what can be done in managing recurrent, residual or metastatic disease and the current and new approaches in palliative care. Some of the leading researchers from across the VCCC Alliance will contribute to this session and share the latest advances relevant to tongue cancer. Hear about cutting-edge developments from Charbel Darido, Oliver Sieber, Paul Neeson, Lorraine O'Reilly, Michael McCullough and Tami Yap.

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