Antibiotics Use May Increase Colon Cancer Risk

Antibiotics Use May Increase Colon Cancer Risk

Antibiotics use may increase colon cancer risk. A new study shows an association between taking antibiotics and an increased risk of developing colon cancer.

The researchers at Umeå University, Sweden have conducted this research based on a study of 40,000 cancer cases. According to the analysis, antibiotics affect the intestinal microbiome that increases the risk of cancer.

Researchers discovered a 17 percent greater risk of developing cancer in the ascending colon among both women and men who took antibiotics for over six months compared to those who were not prescribed any antibiotics.

They used data on 40,000 patients from the Swedish Colorectal Cancer Registry from the period 2010-2016. Researchers compared this data to a matched control group of 200,000 cancer-free individuals, collected from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register for the period 2005-2016.

In the current study, the increased risk of colon cancer was found already five to ten years after taking antibiotics. However, the rise in the risk was found highest among those taking most antibiotics as well as those who used a single course of antibiotics.

"The results underline the fact that there are many reasons to be restrictive with antibiotics. While in many cases antibiotic therapy is necessary and saves lives, in the event of less serious ailments that can be expected to heal anyway, caution should be exercised. Above all to prevent bacteria from developing resistance but, as this study shows, also because antibiotics may increase the risk of future colon cancer," says Sophia Harlid, a cancer researcher at Umeå University.