Dentists in San Francisco Review the Link Between Oral Bacteria and Pancreatic Cancer

From: Larson Dentistry
Published: Wed Dec 05 2012

Researchers found that patients with antibodies for certain oral bacteria associated with gum disease had increased probabilities of getting pancreatic cancer. The results were published in Gut, an International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Dentists in San Francisco recognize the link between a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Dr. Greg Larson follows this study to see what further research unfolds relating oral bacteria antibodies to cancer development. Larson specializes in San Francisco veneers, implant dentistry and cosmetic dental services.

The research team accessed a large database designed for cancer research to analyze medical histories and blood samples of patients who were diagnoses with pancreatic cancer against those who were not. More than 800 people were analyzed for oral bacteria, oral bacteria antibodies and the presence of pancreatic cancer.

The research showed a doubled risk of developing pancreatic cancer in people who has increased antibodies for a bacteria strain associated with gum disease. People with increased antibodies for harmless oral bacteria were 45 percent less likely to receive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

"This is not an established risk factor," said co-author Dr. Dominique Michaud. "But I feel more confident that there is something going on. It's something we need to understand better."

Co-author Dr. Jacques Izard says further research will be necessary to analyze the role of bacteria in pancreatic cancer beyond the increased risk. The co-authors said genetics are important in this cancer's development, and it's possible that the higher antibody levels signify a better immune response which helps fight cancer development.

The National Cancer Institute reports that pancreatic cancer is only curable in its beginning stages. More than 40,000 American die of pancreatic cancer annually, and most patients will not live after six months of their diagnosis.

Patients should review the pancreatic cancer risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, smoking, pancreatitis or having a relative with pancreatic cancer. Researchers hope the link they have found may eventually help doctors diagnose this hard to diagnose cancer. Early diagnoses, especially with pancreatic cancer, help save lives.

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The Larson Dentistry team offers extensive dental care for San Francisco patients. Dr. Greg Larson stays current in his field by attending more than 200 hours of continuing education each year and mentoring other dentists worldwide.

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