(NaturalHealth365) There are multiple risk factors for developing colon cancer. So what causes it? Over half of colorectal cancer cases are related to lifestyle factors, such as age, smoking, diet, and alcohol use.
Now, a recent study suggests a strong link between antibiotic use and colon cancer. Why is this the case, and what does it mean for your health? Most importantly, how can you reduce your risk of colon cancer?
Alarming study finds link between antibiotic use and colon cancer risk
A recent study from Sweden reveals a correlation between oral antibiotic use and the risk of colorectal cancer. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that people who took antibiotic courses had up to a 17% higher risk of colon cancer than those who did not.
People who took antibiotics for six months or longer had the highest chance of developing cancer. Still, even short antibiotic courses appeared to increase the chances of colon cancer. Disease risk was also location-specific.
Researchers found a higher cancer risk in the ascending colon, also known as the proximal colon, which resides on the right side of the abdomen. The ascending colon is the beginning of the entire colon. This means it’s the most exposed to everything that comes through the small intestine, including oral antibiotics.
Why do antibiotics increase colon cancer risk?
Since antibiotic use is so widespread, these findings are alarming. But the question is, what about antibiotics could be intensifying cancer risk?
The answer lies in the microbiology of the gut. To maintain a healthy balance, an entire microbiome of good bacteria lives in your digestive tract. And since antibiotics are made to kill bacteria, they can throw the gut microbiome out of whack. Good microbes usually keep harmful bacteria in check. But antibiotic use could contribute to the disruption of this natural order.
In turn, this could lead to detrimental inflammation in the digestive tract. For instance, when harmful bacteria can gain prominence, it can result in biofilm formation. Biofilms are structures formed when harmful bacteria join together within the colon wall. Ultimately, oral antibiotics can knock out the good bacteria in your gut. So although there’s no evidence that antibiotics directly cause cancer, there is a correlation caused by how these drugs affect your gut microbiota.
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