Weekly Health Update:
Gum Disease (Gingivitis) and Breast Cancer Risk
By, Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS
The information in this column is intended for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or recommendations by the author. Please consult with your physician before making any lifestyle or medication changes, or if you have any other concerns regarding your health.
Welcome to Weekly Health Update
“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”
GUM DISEASE (GINGIVITIS) AND BREAST CANCER RISK
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, or periodontal disease, has been closely linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Now, a newly published study from the renowned Karolinksa Institute in Sweden suggests that the risk of developing breast cancer may also be increased by chronic gum disease. The results of this clinical research study appear in the current issue of Breast Cancer Research & Treatment.
In this prospective clinical research study, 3,273 women between the ages of 30 and 40 years were evaluated between 1985 and 2001. Young women in this study who had documented chronic gum disease, or who had lost one or more molars due to gum disease, were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer when compared to women without periodontal disease (even after adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors in these young, healthy women).
Previous research has linked periodontal gum disease with an increased risk of other cancers, including cancers of the uterus, colon, rectum, prostate and pancreas. However, up until now, there has been hardly any available research data linking gingivitis, or tooth loss due to periodontal disease, to breast cancer.
The exact mechanism whereby chronic gum disease increases cancer risk is unknown at this time. (Some experts have proposed that bacteria from chronically inflamed gums may enter into the bloodstream, and induce an inflammatory response that, in turn, causes cancer formation.) Irrespective of the true mechanism, however, certain cancers appear to be more common in people with chronic gum disease, even after adjusting for other known cancer risk factors.
If you experience red, swollen, sore, or bleeding gums, or premature tooth loss (or if your gums are retracting away from your teeth), then you may have periodontal disease (gingivitis). Based upon recent research findings, this condition may not only increase your risk of heart disease, peripheral artery disease, stroke, and diabetes, but also cancer as well. (Recent research has also linked periodontal disease in pregnant women with an increased risk of premature birth of their babies.) If you notice any of these signs of periodontal disease, then please make an appointment to see your dentist for a complete check-up.
For a deeper discussion of known cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book,“ A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” fromAmazon,Barnes & Noble,Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!
I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit our premier global health information website every month. (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.
Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physicianbeforemaking any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity
Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:
Send your feedback to Dr. Wascher at:
Copyright 2007 - 2010
Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS
All rights reserved
Dr. Wascher's Archives:
10-14-2010: Gum Disease (Gingivitis) and Breast Cancer Risk
10-3-2010: Mammograms Between 40 and 49 Years of Age
9-19-2010: Fruits and Vegetables Improve Memory
9-12-2010: Low-Carb Diet and Risk of Death
8-1-2010: Physician Error
7-25-2010: Obesity and Cancer Risk
6-27-2010: Soy, Curcumin & Prostate Cancer Risk
5-30-2010: Medical Research Studies & “Spin”
5-9-2010: Soy Foods & Stomach Cancer Risk
4-18-2010: Coffee Improves HDL Cholesterol Levels
3-28-2010: Aspirin & Breast Cancer Survival
3-21-2010: Obesity, Alcohol & Liver Disease
3-14-2010: Nuts, Diet & Obesity
2-28-2010: Soy Isoflavones & Recurrent Prostate Cancer
2-14-2010: Pancreatic Cancer Risk, Sodas & Juice
1-31-2010: Concord Grape Juice Improves Memory
1-24-2010: Mozart, Music, Babies & Health
1-17-2010: Breast Cancer, Physical Therapy & Lymphedema
1-3-2010: Ginkgo Biloba, Memory & Cognitive Health
12-20-2009: CT Scans & Cancer Risk
11-29-2009: Exercise & Prostate Cancer Risk
11-22-2009: Genistein (Soy Isoflavone) & Prostate Cancer
11-15-2009: Breast Cancer Treatment & Chronic Pain
1-8-2009: Vitamin D & Breast Cancer Risk
11-1-2009: Exercise & Prostate Cancer Risk
10-25-2009: HPV Virus & Risk of Breast Cancer
10-11-2009: Vitamin D & Falls in the Elderly
10-4-2009: Surgery, NSQIP, Complications & Death
9-27-2009 Stress, Heart Disease, Exercise & Death
9-20-2009: Vitamin D & Colorectal Cancer Survival
9-13-2009: H1N1 Swine Flu Update
9-7-2009: Green Tea, Aging & Lifespan
8-30-2009: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Diet & Fiber
8-23-2009: Update on Prostate Cancer and Cryotherapy
8-2-2009: Honesty, Dishonesty & Brain Function
7-26-2009: Coronary Artery CT Scans & Cancer Risk
7-12-2009: Breast Cancer & Metformin (Glucophage)
7-5-2009: Prostate Cancer & Green Tea
6-21-2009: Red Yeast Rice, Statins & Cholesterol
6-7-2009: Diet, Soy & Breast Cancer Risk
5-31-2009: Diet and Prostate Cancer Risk
5-24-2009: Diabetes, Glucose Control & Death
5-10-2009: Hemorrhoids & Surgery
4-26-2009: Are We Really Losing the War on Cancer?
4-19-2009: Exercise in Middle Age & Risk of Death
4-12-2009: Can Chronic Stress Harm Your Heart?
3-15-2009: Depression, Stress, Anger & Heart Disease
10-26-2008: Smoking & Quality of Life
10-19-2008: Agent Orange & Prostate Cancer
10-12-2008: Pomegranate Juice & Prostate Cancer
9-21-2008: Does Tylenol® (Acetaminophen) Cause Asthma?
4-27-2008: Stents vs. Bypass Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease; The “DASH” Hypertension Diet & Cardiovascular Disease Prevention; Testosterone Therapy for Women with Decreased Sexual Desire & Function
4-6-2008: Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Pap Smear Results & Cervical Cancer; Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Infection & Oral Cancer; Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) & the Risk of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)
12-16-2007: Honey vs. Dextromethorphan vs. No Treatment for Kids with Night-Time Cough, Acupuncture & Hot Flashes in Women with Breast Cancer, Physical Activity & the Risk of Death, Mediterranean Diet & Mortality