Gum disease carries high cancer risk

May 27th, 2008 - 12:55 pm ICT by admin  


London, May 27 (IANS) Gum disease carries a high risk of cancer, which has been found to be true of both smokers and non-smokers, according to a new study. Since uncertainty shrouds whether or not systemic inflammation, pathogenic invasion or immune response affects cancer risk sites, Dominique Michaud of Imperial College London decided to investigate the association.

His study has relied on data from an earlier study initiated in 1986 when male health professionals aged 40-75 responded to questionnaires posted by Harvard University.

Baseline gum disease with bone loss, number of natural teeth, and tooth loss in previous two years were recorded, as was smoking history and food intake.

A total of 48,375 men, with a median follow-up of 17.7 years were eligible for this study out of which 5,720 cases of incident cancer were recorded.

The five most common cancers were colorectal (1,043), melanoma of the skin (698), lung (678), bladder (543) and advanced prostate (541).

After adjustment for known risk factors, including detailed smoking and history and dietary factors, participants with a history of gum disease had a 14 percent higher risk of cancer compared to those with no history of gum disease.

For individual cancer sites, those with a history of gum disease had an increased risk of lung cancer (36 percent), kidney (49 percent), pancreas (54 percent) and haematological (white blood cell) cancers (30 percent), compared with those with no history of gum disease.

The study concluded: “Gum disease was associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk, which persisted in never-smokers.”

Findings of the study have been published in the latest edition of The Lancet Oncology.

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