It is now a known and accepted fact that an oral/systemic health link exists and that heart disease, diabetes and yes, even cancer, are related to the condition of one’s mouth!
In a small study recently published online in the journal GUT, the researchers suggest that levels of particular types of bacteria, some of which are found in gum disease, can be linked to the development of pancreatic cancer.
The researchers compared bacteria found in saliva of 10 pancreatic cancer patients whose cancer had not yet spread, with 10 healthy people and all participants were matched for age and sex.
They found that the cancer group had 31 additional species and 25 fewer species of bacteria in their saliva compared to the healthy group. The findings were verified by conducting the same study on 28 new participants in each group.
The researchers then went on to study samples from patients who had chronic inflammation of the pancreas, which is linked to an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. They discovered that among six suspicious species, two – Neisseria elongata and Streptococcus mitis – showed up substantially less often in the mouths of cancer patients while levels of another species – Granulicatella adjacens – were substantially higher!
While it is unclear whether the presence of these specific bacteria are the cause or the effect of pancreatic cancer, the researchers conclude by suggesting that monitoring levels of these bacteria could be used as a non-invasive and credible screen for pancreatic cancer.
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