ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
CANCER
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Hairspray Exposure Ups Risk for Birth Defect in Sons
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Best Taken With Largest Meal of Day, Study Finds
What you need to know about swine flu.
Cocaine Spurs Long-Term Change in Brain Chemistry
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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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