ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
CANCER
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
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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