Gum disease and pancreatic cancer

Tara Parker-Pope writes of a study linking gum disease and pancreatic cancer. I wish I didn't hate dentists and dentist offices so much.

Health Journal - The link between oral health and overall health has been discussed in medical and dental journals for years, but the issue has yet to resonate with most doctors and patients. A report from Harvard researchers earlier this month may finally be a wake-up call. A new study found a surprising but powerful link between poor gum health and one of the deadliest diseases, pancreatic cancer.
In a study of more than 51,000 male doctors, the men with a history of gum disease were at 64% higher risk for pancreatic cancer, compared with those with healthy mouths. Although pancreatic cancer is relatively rare, the gum-disease risk translates into an additional 36 cases of pancreatic cancer per 100,000 people.

Scientists are still unclear why the connection, of course, so don't get too exuberant.

Nobody knows why gum disease may be linked with pancreatic cancer. It may be that chronic infection in the gums triggers inflammation throughout the body, which can fuel the growth of cancer. Or it may be that oral bacteria trigger a chemical process in the body that results in high levels of nitrosamines, cancer-causing compounds that also are in tobacco smoke.


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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 25, 2007 5:06 PM.

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