Worrying link between gum disease and bowel cancer
The bacteria which is most commonly associated with tooth loss in adults could also be a factor in the development of bowel cancer, according to scientists.
Scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute in America, found an abnormally large number of fusobacterium – a bacterium associated with the development of periodontal gum disease – in nine colorectal tissue samples.
Bowel cancer, which is also known as colon cancer, is one of the top three deadliest cancers in the UK. On average 35,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year and almost half of them will die. Matthew Myerson, lead author of the study, believes more research is required to discover the true extent of the link, the research clearly suggests that fusobacterium could be a factor in the development of cancer.
He said, “At this point we don’t know what the connection between fusobacterium and colon cancer might be. It may be that the bacterium is essential for cancer growth; or that the cancer simply provides a hospitable environment for the bacterium to thrive.”
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, added, “This research, although at an early stage, is more evidence of the systematic links between oral and overall health. The majority of people suffers with gum disease at some stage in their lives, which could potentially endanger thousands of people if they continue to neglect their oral health.”