Are Pancreatic Cancer and Gum Disease Linked?

Pancreatic Cancer

Are Pancreatic Cancer and Gum Disease Linked?

Gum disease, while serious in it’s own right, may be a little more serious than many even realized. Instead of addressing gum disease only with a few trips to your dentist in Prescott, you may want to get screened for cancer as well. In our last post we examined a study involving a link between gum disease and dementia, but it seems the hits just keep on coming. A recent study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research has suggested a connection between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer but there is a silver lining to these findings. They could provide a path towards earlier detection of the disease. Which is vitally important due to the fact that pancreatic cancer has a survival rate after 5 years of only 7.7% and is often only diagnosed in an advanced stage.

The research was conducted at NYU’s Langone Medical Center in partnership with the National Cancer Institute. The findings concluded that people had a higher prevalence of pancreatic cancer if they also had two forms of oral bacteria that cause periodontal disease or gum disease. The two types of bacteria associated with pancreatic cancer were Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis. The participants who had these forms of bacteria in their oral cavities had a 50-59% higher likelihood of having pancreatic cancer.

It is important to reiterate that this study does not confirm that these type of gum disease bacteria cause pancreatic cancer. Instead, the researchers suggest a a mere correlation with systemic inflammation occurring throughout the body, which is already understood to be a precursor for developing cancer.

Questions on what gum disease is or if you may have the signs? Contact Prescott Dentistry today to schedule an oral exam and cleaning.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/13/2016) Pan American Health Organization-PAHO Pan American Health Organization-PAHO (Flickr)