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Gum disease bacteria linked to esophageal cancer

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — At least three types of bacteria in the mouths may heighten or lower their risk of developing esophageal cancer, Researchers at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center have reported.

The study, publishing online Dec 1 in the journal Cancer Research, tracked the oral health of 122,000 Americans for 10 years which found that the presence of two types of bacteria linked with gum disease may hike the risk of the cancer.

An analysis of data from two national studies, finds a 21 percent increased cancer risk tied to the presence of Tannerella forsythia, bacteria commonly linked to gum disease.

By contrast, types of Streptococcus and Neisseria bacteria were associated with as much as a 24 percent decrease in risk for esophageal cancer. Neisseria are known to break down the toxins in tobacco smoke, and smokers are known to have lower amounts of these bacteria in their mouths than nonsmokers.

The study,led by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York, NY, also reveals that some types of mouth bacteria are linked to lower risk of esophageal cancer.

Gum disease has already been linked in numerous studies to a heightened risk of the number one killer, heart disease. But an expert in esophageal cancer who reviewed the new findings stressed that researchers can’t yet prove a causal link to esophageal tumors.

“What is not clear is whether the presence of these bacteria or the resultant periodontal disease is primarily responsible for the development of cancer,” said Dr Anthony Starpoli, associate director of esophageal endotherapy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Starpoli believes specialists should consider a proper evaluation of the oral cavity as well as the remainder of the digestive tract in the hope of early diagnosis of esophageal cancer.

Senior investigator of the study Jiyoung Ahn, an associate professor and epidemiologist at NYU School of Medicine, believes that the findings will take us closer to establishing the causes of esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, the study authors noted.

“Our study brings us much closer to identifying the underlying causes of these cancers because we now know that at least in some cases disease appears consistently linked to the presence of specific bacteria in the upper digestive tract,” says Ahn.

“Conversely, we have more evidence that the absence or loss of other bacteria in the mouth may lead to these cancers, or to gut diseases that trigger these cancers.”

Ahn said, “Esophageal cancer is a highly fatal cancer, and there is an urgent need for new avenues of prevention, risk stratification, and early detection.”

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Woman died in scooter collision

Pratigya Waiju

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KATHMANDU—A woman in Gaindakot of Nawalparasi died after the scooter she was riding on collided with another scooter on Monday night.

According to the police, the incident occurred when the scooter (Na 41 Pa 2675) and scooter (Na 18 Pa 1246) collided head- on in Bhrikuti Chok yesterday.

Police identified the deceased as Anisha Rana Magar 26 of Gunjanagar, Chitwan.

Immediately, she was taken to New Medical College, but died in course of treatment.

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