A study confirms that antibiotics increase the risk of colon cancer

The increasing resistance on the part of the population to antibiotics is a problem that is worrying experts in recent years around the world. Now, a study of

A study confirms that antibiotics increase the risk of colon cancer

The increasing resistance on the part of the population to antibiotics is a problem that is worrying experts in recent years around the world. Now, a study of the University of Umea (Sweden) adds a new reason to further control the intake of these drugs, because, according to this new research, there is a clear relationship between antibiotics and a higher risk of developing Colon cancer in the next five or ten years.

This has been confirmed by the researchers from the Swedish University after a study of 40,000 cases of cancer. Specifically, it is believed that the impact of antibiotics in the intestinal microbioma is behind this increased risk of cancer.

"The results underline the fact that there are many reasons to be restrictive with antibiotics. Although in many cases antibiotic therapy is necessary and saves lives, in the case of less serious ailments that can be cured anyway, you have to have CAUTION ", warns the cancer researcher at the University of Umea, Sophia Harlid. "Above all, caution to prevent bacteria from developing resistance, but as it shows this study, also because antibiotics can increase the risk of having a future colon cancer," she adds.

Precisely, researchers discovered that both women and men who took antibiotics for more than six months had a risk of 17% higher than cancer in the ascending colon, the first part of the colon to which food arrive after the small intestine , that those who did not receive any antibiotics.

However, no increased risk of cancer was found in the descending colon. There was also no risk of rectal cancer in men who took antibiotics, while women who took antibiotics had a slightly lower incidence of rectum cancer.

The increased risk of colon cancer was visible between five and ten years after taking antibiotics. Although the increased risk was greater for those who took most antibiotics, it was also possible to observe a small but statistically significant increase, of cancer risk after a single treatment with antibiotics.

Thus, this study uses data from 40,000 patients from the Swedish Colorectal Cancer Register 2010-2016. These have been compared with a group of paired control of 200,000 unaware individuals extracted from the Swedish population in general.

The data on the use of antibiotics of the individuals were collected from the Swedish register of prescribed drugs for the period 2005-2016. As the authors remember, this new investigation confirms, in general, the results of a previous British study, something smaller.

To understand how antibiotics increase the risk, researchers also studied a non-antibiotic bactericid drug used against urinary tract infections that does not affect microbiome. There were no differences in the frequency of colon cancer in those who used this drug, which suggests that it is the impact of antibiotics in microbiome, which increases the risk of cancer. Although the study only encompasses antibiotics administered orally, including intravenous antibiotics can affect the microbiota of the intestinal system.

"There is absolutely no reason for alarm for the simple fact of having taken antibiotics. The increased risk is moderate and the effect on absolute risk for the individual is quite small," clarifies Harlid, reminiscent of the importance of routine cancer screening Colorectal.

"As in any other screening program, it is important to participate in it in order to detect any cancer or even prevent it, since it can sometimes be eliminated by the precursors of it," concludes the main author of the study.

Updated Date: 04 September 2021, 22:29

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