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Cancer Tied to Gum Disease

Men with a history of periodontal (gum) disease have a 14 percent higher risk for cancer than men without gum disease, a study says. The added risk is even greater for certain cancers: 54 percent for pancreatic cancer, 49 percent for kidney cancer, 36 percent for lung cancer, and 30 percent for white blood cell cancers. The study took into account the men’s other known risk factors, such as smoking and diet. Only smokers appear to have the heightened risk for lung cancer. Researchers from Britain’s Imperial College London pored over records from 48,375 men who were tracked, on average, for 17.7 years. They write in Lancet Oncology that the findings “need confirmation, but suggest that periodontal disease might be a marker of a susceptible immune system or might directly affect cancer risk.”

“Periodontal Disease, Tooth Loss, and Cancer Risk in Male Health Professionals: a Prospective Cohort Study.” D.S. Michaud et al. Lancet Oncology. June 2008, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 550–58. Abstract: Accessed 2013.

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