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Researchers have found a link between gum disease and a significantly increased risk of cancer, in both smokers and non-smokers.
A team from Imperial College London analyzed data from more than 48,000 men in the United States, which showed that the cancer risk among non-smokers with a history of gum disease was 21 percent higher. They were also found to have a 35 percent greater risk of blood cancers.
Including smokers, the overall increased risk for those with a history of gum disease was found to be 14 percent, which rises to around 50 percent for lung, kidney and pancreatic cancers.
Although the research team is unsure of the exact reason for the link, they suggested that "gum disease might be a marker of a susceptible immune system or might directly affect cancer risk".
Dr Dominique Michaud from Imperial College London, who led the investigation, wrote in the Lancet Oncology journal: "Gum disease was associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk, which persisted in never-smokers."
Scientists have previously found that gum disease could also lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
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