No matter the type, a cancer diagnosis changes everything. Moving forward your life is forever divided into two parts: before my cancer diagnosis and after.
But if you know anything about pancreatic cancer you know when the doctor says those two words your life is about to be turned on end. Because you’re officially in a fight for your life and a race against the clock.
Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease. This killer mows down well over 40,000 people every year.
Pancreatic cancer typically operates in stealth mode. And like a silent assassin, it’s often missed until long after it has a hold on you. By the time, it can be impossible to beat.
Which is why PREVENTING pancreatic cancer should be on all of our “to do” lists.
But there’s good news, too.
Recent research over the last few years has given us a few valuable insights into how pancreatic cancer develops. And you’re never going to believe what one of the most important tools against this killer disease may be.
Hint, it costs just a few bucks and you can pick it up at your local drug or grocery store.
I’m talking about a toothbrush. Because according to researchers there’s a startling connection between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.
Research connects pancreatic cancer & gum disease
According to researchers, good dental care, including regular brushing and flossing, could slash your risk of cancer.
And a recent study has linked gum disease to a significantly higher risk of cancer.
More on that new study in a moment. But first let’s rewind a few years.
In 2007, researchers first uncovered a link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. The medical histories of over 51,000 non-smoking men were examined.
The scientists found having a history of gum disease was associated with 2.7 fold increase in risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Fast forward to 2016, and researchers from New York University made a stunning discovery.
They found that two germs are associated with a 50 percent (or greater) risk for pancreatic cancer. And they both may be setting up shop in your mouth at this very moment.
- Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans – 50 percent increase in pancreatic cancer
- Porphyromonas gingivalis – 59 percent increased risk for pancreatic cancer
The study was only designed to show a link, not a cause. So before we can definitively say these germs cause pancreatic cancer we will need to see more research.
But the scientists did account for a bunch of other factors including the age, race, sex, and weight of the folks studied. As well as their drinking, smoking and diabetes status.
In other words, they controlled for many other potential causes and the link was still strong.
Keeping your teeth clean could slash your cancer risk
And the evidence linking all kinds of cancers and dental health continues to grow. A 2017 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention added more smoke to the fire.
The study looked at a group of postmenopausal women with a history of gum disease. They found those who had gum disease had a 14 percent increased risk for a cancer diagnosis over eight years compared to women with healthy mouths.
And now a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute earlier this year has once again confirmed the connection. Folks with severe gum disease had a 24 percent increased cancer risk, compared to those with minor gum disease
And once again, the Tufts University researchers accounted for folk’s age, sex, race and smoking status. So they could rule those factors out.
The bottom line is taking care of your teeth and gums could slash your risk for a number of cancers including deadly pancreatic cancer. Start with a fresh slate by seeing a dentist for a fluoride-free cleaning and scaling.
Then commit to a regular dental routine of brushing and flossing twice a day. It could literally save your life.