Salivary Gland Regeneration for Oral Cancer

Why is salivary gland regeneration necessary? Patients undergoing radiation for oral cancer often have the salivary glands radiated, leading to a life of saliva deficiency. Saliva cleans the mouth and aids in digestion. The worst part about losing saliva is lack of sleep from continually awakening to moisten the mouth.

There is no medicine that replaces saliva in a successful way. Most oral cancer survivors say it’s the worst part about treatment. However, in June 2010 when I lectured in Athens Greece for HASCOCC (Hellenic Association of Supportive Care of the Oral Cavity in Cancer), I learned from Monique Stockman, RDH, PhD from the University Medical Center Groningen in Holland about their phenomenal saliva remedy for patients who have undergone radiation to the neck.

In Athens with my sister Abby (L) and daughter Elena (R)

With mice as their subject, they remove the stem cells from the salivary gland BEFORE treatment for cancer. The stem cells are replaced AFTER treatment concludes. What did they find? New salivary glands grew! They believe that just like the mice, the salivary glands in humans will grow back, too! I got chills up and down my spine thinking about how many survivors could have a better quality of life!

Just this week, an article came out about similar research on salivary gland regeneration in the U.S.  I hope future oral cancer patients can benefit from this potential treatment.

Comments 6

  1. It’s been almost 4 years since I underwent
    Chemo and radiation for squamous cell carcinoma
    of the upper palate.I was never told that my salivary
    glands would be destroyed as a consequence.
    Is there any hope of growing back these glands
    I have been using a feeding tube ever since.
    I’m thankful I’m alive, but the quality of my life
    is terrible.can you advise me on what I can do?
    I’ve given up with the doctors at Mass. Eye & Ear.
    Thank you.

  2. James,

    I’m a 64 year old man, 2.5 years out from 7 weeks of radiation & Erbitux chemo for squamous cell carcinoma of the right tonsil that moved to 2 lymph glands. I had the feeding tube during the treatment & for a few months after. Was depressed till I finally another way to get food. I now nourish with shakes made with 4 Ensures, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, peaches, honey, a scrambled egg, an avocado, banana, peanut & almond butter, hummus, & yogurt. Tastes like vanilla shake. I drink about 45 oz’s a day. Blood work is better than it’s ever been. Lack of saliva makes it almost impossible to eat food. but the real issue that almost no one gets is the complete lack of joy for food anymore. I don’t even get hungry anymore, which is weird. It’s just fuel now, but if you can go to the shakes, you can get the damned tube out,. That alone will greatly improve your lifestyle. You’ll want to socialize again, go out, see friends, be you again.
    The library is a great place to start for books on shakes & smoothies. Beats the hell out of that God- awful tube, & you’ll feel a lot less like a victim with it out. That’s important for your spirit. Your body was cured by the treatment, but you have to fix your head. No pill for that.
    Let me know how it goes, James. Good Luck.

    1. Post

      Thanks for sharing….powerful line: “Your body was cured by the treatment, but you have to fix your head. No pill for that.” Check out the post I just made on that subject.

  3. I had IMRT in 2003. My xerostomia and hyposalivation is unbearable! I recently signed up for a study at the NIH, but didn’t qualify, because my parotids produced 0% stimulated and unstimulated. What else can I try? I’ve already tried Evoax, Saligen, and accupuncture.

    1. Post

      Hi Destiny,
      Try some more products! There is a lot on the market. Here is a list:

        Artificial Saliva- Carboxymethylcellulose or hydroxymethylcellulose solutions

      (Mimics natural saliva, does not stimulate salivary gland production)

      Entertainer’s Secret® (KLI Corp) spray
      Glandosane®(Kenwood/Bradley) Spray
      Moi-Stir® (Kingswood Labs) spray, swabs
      Optimoist® (Colgate -Palmolive) spray
      Saliva Substitute® (Roxane Labs) Liquid
      Salivart® (Gevauer) preservative-free aerosol
      Salix® (Scandinavian Natural health and beauty) Tablets
      V.A Oralube® (Oral Dis.Res. Lab)sodium-free; liquid
      Xero-Lube® Artificial Saliva (Scherer) sodium-free; spray
      Mucopolysaccharide Solutions: spray
      MouthKote® (Parnell) spray

        Salivary Stimulants (sialogogues)

      Natrol Dry Mouth Relief (Natrol and Amarillo Biosciences) lozenges
      Salese (Nuvora) Lozenges
      Xylimelts® (orahealth) time release oral disc
      OraMoist® Quantum Health
      Act Dry mouth Lozenges ( J&J)
      Sugar-free chewing gums (various vendors)(aim for 100% xylitol)
      Xylitol, (gums, candies, lozenges, sprays)(look for Spry, Ice chips, Zellies, Dr. Johns)
      Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP), (Enamelon tooth gel)
      Recaldent (GC America, Cadbury) Toothpaste, gum

        Salivary Enzyme Replacement

      Biotene Products (GSK) Contains three primary salivary enzymes – Glucose Oxidase,
      Lactoperoxidase, and Lysozyme, sodium laurel sulfate free. Toothpaste, mouthwash, gum
      Oralbalance (GSK) gel
      CankerX (Sunstar Butler) gel

        Lozenges and Discs

      (listed above in stimulants too)
      Oramoist™ dry mouth treatment patch (Quantum Health)
      Salese™ dry mouth lozenges (Nuvora)
      Xylimelts™ moisturizer and salivary stimulant (OraHealth)

        Prescription Salivary Stimulants

      NeutraSal-Supersaturated Calcium Phosphate Rinse (OraPharma)
      Pilocarpine: Stimulates residual salivary glands, solution, gel or tablet form (Salagen)
      Cevimeline: Increases exocrine gland secretions, tablets (Evoxac)
      Anathole trithione: Simulates exocrine gland secretions (Sialor)

  4. Eva Grayzel,
    Which of these products are for use when someone is sleeping? Which ones are over the counter and which are prescription?

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