ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
CANCER
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
CAREGIVING
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster
Compound in Red Wine Fights Ravages of Age
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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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