ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Treat symptoms (result of disease) or diagnose systems (cause of disease)?
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
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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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