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Poor Oral Health May Increase Risk of Pancreatic Cancer Among African American Women

April 4, 2019
by Boston University School of Medicine


African American women with poor oral health may be more likely to get pancreatic cancer (PC).

In the U.S., studies show that African Americans are more likely to get pancreatic cancer than Caucasians. Poor oral health, specifically adult tooth loss and periodontal disease prevalence, has a similar pattern. Using data from the Black Women’s Health Study, researchers from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University found that compared to African American women who showed no signs of poor oral health, those who reported adult tooth loss had a substantially increased risk of PC. This association become even stronger for those who had lost at least five teeth.

According to the researchers, these observations may be related to oral bacteria and the inflammation caused by certain bacteria. In previous studies among different populations the presence of circulating antibodies to selected oral periodontal pathogens was associated with increased risk of PC.

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