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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Cancer link to gum disease

27th May 2008

Researchers have found that gum disease could herald an "increased" danger of cancer, in both people who smoke and those who do not.


A team working at Imperial College in London discovered that gum disease was associated with more danger of developing certain types of cancers.

Many people in the UK have gum disease, which is found in higher numbers amongst people who smoke.

The research was published in Lancet Oncology. The study looked at the health data of 50,000 men in the United States from 1986.

The team discovered that people with gum disease had a 14% increased risk of cancer over those people who did not have the disease.

The danger of lung cancer was raised by one third and leukaemia by 30%. The risk of kidney and pancreatic cancer was raised by nearly half.

Dr Dominique Michaud, who headed the team, stated that gum disease could point to "weakness" of the immune system which might give cancers the opportunity to grow.

"These findings might represent a commonality in the immune function and response to inflammation, which results in susceptibility to both periodontal disease and haematological cancers."

The team added that gum disease might also change the way the immune system worked, which allowed cancer to develop.

"At this point, we feel that any recommendations for prevention of cancer based on these findings are premature; patients with periodontal diseases should seek care from their dentists irrespective of the effect on cancer."



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