Women who have a history of gum disease face a higher risk of several types of cancer, particularly tumours in the esophagus and breasts, says a US study. “A history of periodontal disease was associated with a 14% higher risk of developing any cancer,” said the study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Previous research showed a link between diseased gums and pancreatic cancer. Another study report suggested that loss of teeth and gum disease in postmenopausal women could signal increased death risk.
“The strongest association was for cancer of the esophagus, which was more than three times more likely in women with periodontal disease.” Researchers also uncovered a “significantly higher risk” of lung cancer, gallbladder cancer, melanoma and breast cancer. The study spanned 1999 to 2013, and involved more than 65,000 post-menopausal women who filled out questionnaires about their health. The women, aged 54 to 86, were followed for an average of eight years.