Oral Germs Causing Pancreatic Cancer

Germs in your mouth may lead to cancer
Germs in your mouth may lead to cancer

Could the germs in your mouth lead to pancreatic cancer?

New study hints at a link between germs found in your mouth and a heightened risk of pancreatic cancer.

Researchers in America believe that they have found links between things lurking in our mouths and the possibility of cancer, Jiyoung Ahn, Associate Professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Centre, in New York City, said:

“We identified two types of bacteria that are associated with a higher risk for pancreatic cancer and have been tied in the past to such diseases as periodontitis, or inflammation of the gums,”

Ahn was clear, however, that her team found only an association and “cannot tell if this bacteria causes the cancer.”

Diagram of the pancreas and pancreatic cancer symptoms
Diagram of the pancreas and pancreatic cancer symptoms

Researchers said, one strain of oral bacteria has been associated with a 59 percent higher risk for this cancer in people who carried it, and the other was linked to a 119 percent greater risk of the cancer. These numbers relate to a person’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer in their lifetime, in comparison to people without the bacteria.

Around 9,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK. Due to its, often, late stage diagnosis, this cancer has a particularly high death rate. The UK statistics estimate around 8,000 people will not make the 1% survival rate. The pancreas is responsible for making digestive juices and hormones, like insulin, which aids in controlling blood sugar. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, obesity, a history of diabetes, and a family history of the disease.

The study has been conducted over 10 years and the researchers tested oral samples from 361 participants. The participants were healthy when embarking on the trial; however, the end result had them diagnosed with cancer. 371 participants, who also took part, didn’t get pancreatic cancer during the experiment being conducted.

symptoms of pancreatic cancer
symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Ahn speculated that people who carry these germs might be susceptible to inflammation, which has been linked to cancer she also added that, if figured out in future research, the study results might end up leading to new ways to screen for pancreatic cancer.

Though it has been stressed that the result aren’t final and don’t definitively prove that oral bacteria leads to cancer. To follow up on their research, Ahn and her colleagues are currently recruiting patients and collecting surgical samples of pancreatic tissue to see if oral bacteria travel to the pancreas. We hope to see the results soon.

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