On topic with Dr. Dill:
The connection between breast cancer and gum disease
In a study of more than 70,000 post-menopausal women, researchers found a link between gum disease and increased risk of breast cancer. That risk also increased when women had a history of smoking as well as gum disease. In another study, researchers found that women with a history of severe gum disease (also known as periodontitis) had two to three times the risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with no history of the disease.
Why is breast cancer linked to gum disease?
Scientists don’t have a definitive cause for this link yet, but they do have some ideas. Some research suggests that the development of many cancers could be associated with chronic inflammation and infections, two hallmarks of gum disease. However, more research is needed to understand the connection between gum disease and breast cancer.
What can I do to reduce my risk of gum disease?
For breast cancer, monthly self-exams are an important diagnostic tool. Be sure to check for any hard lumps or abnormalities in your breast tissue, regardless of your sex. Catching these warning signs early is critical, as starting treatment for any disease right away may help prevent more dangerous outcomes.