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HHS HealthBeat (September 13, 2013)

Mouth germs and cancer

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Researchers suspect a germ in the mouth could raise the risk of colon cancer. Scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland say it’s the bacterium known as Fn, which lives in the mouth and can be carried to other body sites. The researchers say Fn attaches to a cell receptor in the colon. The process can spur cancer cell growth.

So researcher Yiping Han created a substance that blocks the process experimentally. She can’t tell whether it will lead to a treatment. So she advises people to control mouth microbes the way we know:

“Practice good oral hygiene and keep the gum healthy because the mouth is the gateway to our health.”

The study in the journal Cell Host and Microbe was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

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Last revised: September 13, 2013