Oral Cancer Comes Not Just From Intimate Encounters

Ever since Michael Douglas told the world he got oral cancer from oral, well, you know, that's what people think when others develop this kind of cancer.

But that's not entirely true.  Did you know that byproducts from bacteria in the form of small fatty acids from two bacteria prevalent in gum disease also incite the growth of deadly Kaposi’s sarcoma-related (KS) lesions and tumors in the mouth?

According to newswise.com, recent research has focused on how certain bacteria, which are associated with gum disease, contribute to cancer formation.

Experts said at newswise.com that high levels of these bacteria are found in the saliva of people with periodontal disease, and at lower levels in those with good oral health—further evidence of the link between oral and overall physical health.

KS, which often attacks persons with HIV, first appears as lesions on the surface of the mouth that, if not removed, can grow into malignant tumors. Survival rates are higher when detected and treated early in the lesion state than when a malignancy develops.
Also at risk are people with compromised immune systems: people on medications to suppress rejection of transplants, cancer patients on chemotherapies and the elderly population whose immune systems naturally weaken with age.
The researchers wanted to learn why most people never develop this form of cancer and what it is that protects them, newswise.com reports.
Researchers divided a group of 21 into two groups. The first group of 11 participants had an average age of 50 and had severe chronic gum disease, the Web site explains. "The second group of 10 participants, whose average age was about 26, had healthy gums, practiced good oral health and showed no signs of bleeding or tooth loss from periodontal disease."
The researchers also studied a saliva sample from each. Part of the saliva sample was separated into its components using a spinning centrifuge. The remaining saliva was used for DNA testing to track and identify bacteria present, and at what levels.
At one point in their studies, the researchers introduced the KS virus in a "quiet" state into the DNA. They saw that, "while the fatty acids (in the DNA) allowed the virus to multiply, the process also set in motion a cascade of actions that also inhibited molecules in the body’s immune system from stopping the growth of KSHV."
Experts say this shows the importance of good oral health for everyone, not just those with HIV or AIDS, and the vital interconnection between oral health and and the well-being of all the systems of your body.


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