Friday, January 31, 2014

Oral Bacteria and Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers, largely because it is extremely difficult to detect. The disease kills 40,000 Americans annually, and most die within just six months of diagnosis. Now, scientists are looking at a possible link between an oral bacteria and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Studying blood samples from more than 800 adults, researchers found that a high antibody level (an immune system response to bacteria) of one of the more infectious periodontal strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis was associated with a twofold risk for pancreatic cancer. P. gingivalis is an oral pathogen that causes inflammation, which can result in the oral bone destruction that is periodontal disease. Scientists have long suspected P. gingivalis as a risk factor for such systemic conditions as diabetes, stroke, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

While more work needs to be done to establish the presence of P. gingivalis antibodies as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, the evidence is mounting that immune system responses to oral bacteria in general may be a marker for many diseases. In the case of pancreatic cancer, such markers may mean early, life-saving detection rather than almost certain death.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at

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