Last week, we explored how smoking cigarettes has recently been shown to alter the oral microbiome and increase the risk of developing tooth decay. This week, a new study has been published suggesting an even more fatal link between oral bacteria and health. According to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, changes in mouth bacteria have been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer ranks 4th among the top 10 deadliest forms of cancer. As the name suggests, it begins in the pancreas and is known to spread quickly. Each year, it claims the lives of about 45,000 individuals in the United States alone. It is difficult to detect Pancreatic cancer, in part because it develops internally without any external signs of illness. Moreover, there is no routine screening test or medical exam that patients can rely on to determine risk of developing this fatal disease.
A new study offers the hope of earlier detection and treatment, however. Researchers at NYU Langone in New York believe that certain changes in the bacteria of the mouth might indicate a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
“These bacterial changes in the mouth could potentially show us who is most at risk of developing pancreatic cancer,” writes Dr. Jiyoung Ahn, epidemiologist and associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine (i). Specifically, researchers note the presence of bacteria Porphyromonas and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were linked with a 59% and 50% increased risk of developing Pancreatic cancer, respectively.
“Our study offers the first direct evidence that specific changes in the microbial mix in the mouth – the oral microbiome – represent a likely risk factor for pancreatic cancer,” explains Dr. Ahn, “along with older age, male gender, smoking, African-American race, and a family history of the disease.”
Holistic Dentistry at Assure A Smile
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(i) Paddock, Catharine PhD. “Pancreatic cancer risk linked to changes in mouth bacteria.” Medical News Today. Accessed 22 April 2016.