ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
CANCER
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
FITNESS
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
Laugh and the World Understands
Healthy Living Adds Years to Life
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Add your Article

Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- There may be another good reason to floss each day: A new study finds that gum disease could raise the risk for cancer.

"Men with history of periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of cancer than those who did not have periodontal disease, and the increase persisted among never smokers," said lead researcher Dominique Michaud, a cancer epidemiologist at Imperial College London, in the U.K.

People with gum infections do have an increased amount of inflammatory markers circulating in their blood, and inflammation has been linked to cancer, experts say. But the exact link, if any, between gum disease and cancer remains unclear.

This new finding needs to be examined in other populations and among women, but it at least suggests that oral health may have some impact on cancer risk, Michaud said.

"If other data can support this association, then it will have implications for prevention and may provide some new clues on the role of the immune function in cancer development," Michaud said.

The report is published in the June edition of the journal The Lancet Oncology.

In the study, Michaud's team collected data on more than 48,000 American men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up study, which included health professionals aged 40 to 75.

During an average of 17.7 years of follow-up, 5,720 cancer cases were reported. These cases excluded non-melanoma skin cancer and non-aggressive prostate cancer. The most common cancers reported were colorectal, melanoma, lung and bladder and advanced prostate cancer, Michaud's group found.

After taking into account other risk factors, such as smoking and diet, the researchers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 14 percent higher risk of developing cancer compared with men did not have a history of the condition.

While the overall risk was 14 percent, the risk for specific cancers was typically higher. Compared to men with healthy gums, men with a history of gum disease had a 36 percent increased risk of lung cancer, a 49 percent hike in risk of kidney cancer, a 54 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer, and a 30 percent increased risk of white blood cell cancers.

In addition, men who had fewer teeth at the beginning of the study had a 70 percent increased risk of developing lung cancer, compared with men who had 25 to 32 teeth, Michaud's team found.

However, the association between gum disease and lung cancer disappeared among men with gum disease who had never smoked, the team noted. Men with gum disease who did not smoke still had a 35 percent increased risk for blood cancers, however, and a 21 percent overall increased risk for cancer.

One expert believes that the increased risk found in the study is too small to conclude that gum disease is a major risk factor for cancer.

"I am not very impressed with the finding," said Dr. Eva S. Schernhammer, an assistant professor, medicine and public health at Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health. "It's a really modest increased risk. I am not sure I would make too much out of it," she said.

"If this is a true association, it could be a marker of socioeconomic status, or a marker for some inflammatory process that leads to cancer," Schernhammer reasoned. "Given the small increase in risk, I'm not sure it would lead to major, dramatic changes in anything" in terms of public health policy, she said.

-Steven Reinberg

More information

For more on cancer risk, visit the American Cancer Society.



SOURCES: Dominique Michaud, Sc.D., reader in cancer epidemiology, Imperial College London, U.K.; Eva S. Schernhammer, M.D., Dr.P.H., assistant professor, medicine and public health, Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health, Boston; June 2008 The Lancet Oncology

Last Updated: May 27, 2008

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