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Study find mouth bacteria could cause colon cancer

by , 15 August 2013

As if having an infection in your mouth isn't bad enough, now researchers believe mouth bacteria could cause colon cancer also known to as colorectal cancer. Read on to discover what the findings of the study say and what you can do to reduce your risk of colon cancer.

According to a study published in the in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, when the mouth bacteria called Fusobacterium nucleatum attaches to your colon cells, it triggers changes that can lead to colon cancer.

The link between mouth bacteria and colon cancer

According to MedicalNewsToday, your gut has trillions of bacteria that vastly outnumber your our own cells. These microbe communities maintain your health by training your immune system and digest food.

These microorganisms trigger disease when there’s an imbalance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ gut bacteria. But until this latest research, it wasn’t clear whether this gut actually triggers tumors and, if so, how they do it.

According to MedicalNewsToday, in mice bred to have a human-like form of colorectal cancer, the researchers found the bacteria sped up tumour formation by summoning a type of immune cell called myeloid cells. These penetrate tumours and trigger inflammations that can lead to cancer.

Senior author Wendy Garrett, of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US are quoted as saying “fusobacteria may provide not only a new way to group or describe colon cancers but also, more importantly, a new perspective on how to target pathways to halt tumor growth and spread.”

This is good news considering that colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women.
According to FSPHealth, more than 140,000 cases of colon cancer are expected to occur in this year alone and over 50,000 will die from the disease.

Is there anything you can do to reduce your risk of colon cancer?

Researchers of the study highlighted that the findings show the importance of good oral health. Fusobacterium nucleatum levels are much higher in people with gum disease. So make sure you see you doctor if you have gum disease to reduce your risk of colon cancer.

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