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Tooth Loss May Up Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Black Women

Last Updated: March 28, 2019.

Tooth loss is associated with an increased risk for incident pancreatic cancer in African-American women, according to a study published online March 28 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

THURSDAY, March 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Tooth loss is associated with an increased risk for incident pancreatic cancer in African-American women, according to a study published online March 28 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Hanna Gerlovin, from Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, and colleagues examined the correlation between self-reported measures of oral health and the incidence of pancreatic cancer in the Black Women's Health Study with follow-up from 2007 through 2016. Hazard ratios were calculated for pancreatic cancer for women with periodontal disease, tooth loss, or both, relative to women reporting neither.

Seventy-eight incident cases of pancreatic cancer were identified. The researchers found that after adjustment for age, cigarette smoking, body mass index, type 2 diabetes, and alcohol consumption, the hazard ratios for pancreatic cancer incidence were 1.77 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.57 to 5.49) for periodontal disease with no tooth loss, 2.05 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.08 to 3.88) for tooth loss with no periodontal disease, and 1.58 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.70 to 3.57) for tooth loss and periodontal disease. For loss of at least five teeth, the hazard ratio was 2.20 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.11 to 4.33), regardless of whether periodontal disease was reported.

"Poor oral health may play a role in racial disparities in pancreatic cancer incidence," the authors write.

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