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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dirty mouth may double danger of pancreatic cancer

Cancer Defeated Publications

Oral Bacteria May Double
Your Risk of Pancreatic Cancer


    The last few years have brought a rash of studies suggesting periodontal (gum) disease is related to other serious diseases. It's long been known that people with diseased gums are at higher risk of heart disease.

    Now comes a study indicating gum disease is also linked to cancer — specifically, pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is extremely deadly. Very few patients survive more than a year following diagnosis (if they follow conventional treatments). And pancreatic cancer is very difficult to detect. At the very least, this new finding may help with early detection. Keep reading and I'll give you the details...

Continued below. . .


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    The study of blood samples from more than 800 European adults was published in the journal Gut. The researchers found that people with high levels of antibodies for an infectious strain of periodontal bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, were more than twice as likely to have pancreatic cancer as a control group of people who didn't show signs of this gum disease microbe.

    Dominique Michaud, a Brown University epidemiologist who co-authored the study, said the increased risk is about the same as that seen in smokers. In his words, "The relative increase in risk from smoking is not much bigger than two. If this is a real effect size of two, then potential impact of this finding is really significant."

    Jacques Izard of the Forsyth Institute and Harvard University is the study's other lead author. He cautions, "This is not an established risk factor. But I feel more confident that there is something going on. It's something we need to understand better."

    In other words — as always — more study is needed. But if you have periodontal disease, don't fool around. Get it treated and be strict with yourself about brushing, flossing and using a Water Pik or similar device.

    The researchers drew the 821 samples in their study from a vast database of more than 500,000 adults in 10 countries. The database contains medical records, health histories and preserved blood samples from this vast group of people.

    The study design included 405 people who developed pancreatic cancer, matched with a control group of demographically similar people who did not. The study controlled for factors like smoking, diabetes and weight.

    One of the most promising findings was that the date of the blood samples preceded the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by as much as a decade. This means the presence of these bacteria in the mouth could be an early warning of cancer. It also gives strength to the theory that the bacteria somehow cause the cancer. It's certainly not the case that the people got gum disease AFTER their bodies were run down by cancer.

    We can't be sure just yet if these bacteria cause cancer — or how. But it's one more reason, if you need one, to take care of your teeth and gums.

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