Cancer: The drug that raises the risk of cancer ‘after a single course’ – millions taken

Cancer: The drug that raises the risk of cancer ‘after a single course’ – millions taken

Cancer patient says it took 10 hours to get home from hospital

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Cancer is notoriously difficult to treat because it is often picked up in the advanced stages, when it has spread to other parts of the body. Fortunately, survival rates have seen marked improvements in the past decade. It cannot be overstated, however, that prevention is better than cure. In recent developments, researchers have associated the use of one medication with an increased risk of cancer.

A recent study suggested that antibiotic use may increase the risk of colon cancer by altering the gut microbiota.

The analysis of 40,000 cancer cases adds to existing evidence that prolonged use of antibiotics may increase the risk of different types of cancer.

Sophia Harlid, a cancer researcher at Umea University, said: “The results underline the fact there are many reasons to be restrictive with antibiotics.

“While in many cases antibiotic therapy is necessary and saves lives, the event of less serious ailment that can be expected to health any, caution should be exercised.

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“Above all, to prevent bacteria from developing resistance, but as this study shows, also because antibiotics may increase the risk of future colon cancer.”

The findings revealed that antibiotic use among men and women for over six months was associated with a 17 percent greater risk of developing cancer of the colon.

The cancers typically developed in the first part of the colon, known as the ascending colon.

No increased risk was found for cancer in the developing colon, nor was there an increased risk of rectal cancer in men taking the drug.

Although the findings are concerning, researchers remained adamant they are no cause for alarm because the increased risk is minimal.

The risk of cancer was visible after five to ten years of taking antibiotics, but the team also observed a statistically significant increase in the risk after a single course of antibiotics.

The study used data from more than 40,00 patients registered at the Swedish Colorectal Cancer Registry between 2010 and 2016. It also focussed on orally administered antibiotics, as opposed to ones administered intravenously.

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is characterised by abdominal pain and unusual changes in bowel movements.

The authors of the study also investigated a non-antibiotic drug used to treat urinary infections, to help understand how antibiotics may affect the risk of cancer.

Unlike antibiotic drugs, non-antibiotic drugs tend not to affect the microbiome, which refers to the 100 trillion micro-organisms that populate the gastrointestinal tract.

The composition and function of the gut microbiome are believed to play an important role in the development of colon cancer.

Based on the fact that there was no difference in the frequency of colon cancer in those who used the non-antibiotic drug, the researchers suggested it is the impact of antibiotics on the microbiome that increase the risk of cancer.

The findings of the research call for new public health policies to minimise improper use of antibiotics, and also reduce cancer incidence.

The results echoed those of an earlier, somewhat smaller British study, published in the medical journal Cancers.

The 2019 study had provided moderate evidence that prolonged use of antibiotics during a person’s life was associated with an increased risk of various cancers.

Previous observational studies, dating back to 2008, had found the risk of prostate, breast, lung and colon cancer raised with the use of antibiotics.

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