UB study suggests connection between gum disease and cancer risk

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new study from the University at Buffalo is gaining national attention.

It suggests older women with a history of gum disease may also have an elevated cancer risk.

Researchers at UB tracked data on 65,000 post-menopausal women and found those with periodontal problems had a 14 percent higher risk for cancer.

It’s the first study of its kind involving American women. It focuses on women who are 50 to 79 years old. They were tracked over the course of 25 years.

The study found a connection with cancers of the stomach, esophagus, gall bladder, lung, breasts, and malignant melanoma.

The link to esophageal and gallbladder cancers was especially high.

Senior author, Jean Wactawski-Wende, tells us periodontal disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque and bacteria between the teeth and gums. That bacteria can get incorporated into our saliva, which we swallow and transports the bacteria. She also says the bacteria can also be absorbed through gums into our bloodstream causing inflammation and leading to cancer.

“Population wide, it’s a huge number of people that could be affected by this and importantly the fact that gum disease and oral care is something very preventable,” said Wactawski-Wende. “It may just be taking better care of your mouth, seeing a dentist, getting regular cleanings that prevent periodontal progression, might have a positive impact on cancer incidents.”

She says about half of all adults have moderate to severe gum disease.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute is a co-author on the study.

It’s part of the larger ongoing Women’s Health Initiative, which started 25 years ago to study the factors affecting disease and death among post-menopausal women.

 

 

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s