Gum Disease Bacteria Increase the Risk for Cancer

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A new study reveals that too much exposure to a certain type of bacteria that is responsible for gum disease might actually increase the risk of the patient for developing cancer.

For this particular study, researchers have analyzed data coming from national health surveys throughout the years.

For these surveys, patients had to take a dental examination, and blood was also taken for in depth examination. Doctors have tested the blood in order to see the immune response of a bacterium (porphyromonas gingivalis). This bacterium is known to be the culprit for causing periodontitis (or gum disease).

After these tests and exams have been performed, the patients were actually monitored for as long as 12 years to see how their immune system reacts to these specific bacteria.

What the researchers wanted to see was whether people with periodontal disease were exposed mainly to the threat of oral cancer, or cancer of the digestive tract. They started tracking the patient’s health, and they looked mostly for the risk of oral cavity cancers, esophagus and pancreas cancers, stomach cancer, liver cancer, anus cancer and colon and rectum cancer.

 The researchers came to the conclusion that patients with gum disease complications were exposed to a higher risk of death from cancers such as pancreas, colon and rectum cancer.

However, researchers were not able to tell exactly whether cancer risk is directly related to these oral bacteria. In the study there were involved well over 12,000 people, but data on deaths from certain types of cancer was insufficient.

In the past, there have been several other studies made which linked gum disease with digestive system cancer or oral cancers. This particular study, which tried to link the P. gingivalis bacterium to the risk of cancer, is the first of its kind.

Researchers also tried to make a link between the bacterium and the risk of cancer death in people who do not actually struggle with any form of periodontal disease.

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