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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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Drinking water shortage hits life at Yasok in Panchthar

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PACHTHAR — A shortage of drinking water at Yasok Bazar, the center of Kummayak Rural Municipality, has thrown the normal life of the locals out of gear.

The problem arose after the local market management committee removed water pipes installed in the bazaar area. Per household here was getting 50 liters of drinking water once in two days before this.

Water scarcity here is not a new occurrence at Yasok which normally remains dry, but the complete disruption in the supply of taps water has paralysed the life, according to local hotelier Keshab Thapa.

There is no natural or artificial water source nearby the area and locals are forced to dependent on the supply by the local government through tractors in a very limited quantity.

The rural municipality has started fetching water from the local Chhorunga stream and distributing it to the locals. Tractors are used to transport stream water to the area.

Earlier, the 650 households at Yasok were using drinking water supplied by the Yasok Deurali Drinking Water Project. Regular supply (once in two days) was too less to meet demand. There is a demand for some 250,000 liters of water at Yasok per day.

According to Yasok Market Management Consumers Committee secretary Mahendra Bahadur Khadka, water pipes were removed (without any alternative arrangements) in course of market management efforts and it will take some more days to restore them and water scarcity is to go for more few days

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