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Use of antibiotics linked to increased risk of proximal colon cancer

Use of antibiotics linked to increased risk of proximal colon cancer

Recent research says that increased intake of antibiotics can be associated with the risk of proximal colon cancer, where proximal is the tumor’s location in the large intestine, and colon cancer is the first or initial stage of large intestine cancer.


Antibiotics are medicines that help in combating bacteria and hence treat the illness. They do so by preventing the bacteria from replicating and killing them eventually.

Following are the types of infections that antibiotics can cure:

  • Whooping cough 
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bacterial fevers like pneumonia
  • Covid-19 virus
  • Various skin infections
  • Strep throat
  • Some dental and ear infections

Typically you have to do a complete course of antibiotics to have an effect. Incomplete dosage can lead to decreased immunity against bacteria. In short, the bacteria will get resistant to the medication. 

Side effects

Although antibiotics do not usually have side effects, they can vary from mild to severe depending upon the individual’s health conditions. A healthy person can get the following common side effects from antibiotics:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Yeast infections
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating 
  • Loss of appetite

Whereas some major ones include; 

  • Severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis 
  • Diarrhea that may lead to fatal proximal colon cancer 
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney failure

Guidelines for antibiotic intake

Do not stop the course halfway through; complete the entire course to ensure the eradication of the infectious virus. Incomplete medication can leave the bacteria untreated and may cause it to return. 

Keep in mind what antibiotic you are taking and eat the food accordingly to make the medicine effective. For example, you should avoid alcohol with metronidazole and watch out for dairy products taking tetracyclines.

Unimportant and frequent use of antibiotics also develops resistance in bacteria they are designed to kill. So, appropriate and directed use of antibiotics is necessary for correct treatment. 

Always let your doctor know about other medicines you take when they prescribe you an antibiotic. For example, there are certain drugs like antifungals, blood thinners, contraceptives, and diabetes medicines, to name a few, that may conflict with antibiotics. 

What is Proximal colon cancer?

Colon cancer affects roughly 5% of the US population, with 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Large intestine cancer accounts for 21% of all malignancies in the United States and is ranked second, whereas lung cancer is the first in mortality in both men and women.

However, it is one of the most treatable types of gastrointestinal cancer.

Early on in the course of colorectal cancer, there are usually no symptoms. The location of the main tumor determines the symptoms. Before causing symptoms, cancers of the proximal colon become larger than those of the rectum and left colon.

But, as far as the treatment is concerned, if colon cancer develops, various therapies, including surgery, radiation therapy, and medication treatments such as targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, are available to help manage it.

Some drugs have been discovered to lower the incidence of proximal colon cancer. Daily use of aspirin or aspirin-like medications, for instance, has been linked to reducing the risk. However, it is unclear what amount and duration of treatment might be required to minimize cancer risk. In addition, aspirin use daily carries some dangers, such as intestinal bleeding and ulcers.

These treatments are usually only valid for those patients who are at a high risk of colon cancer. There is insufficient evidence to prescribe these drugs to persons with an average risk of proximal colon cancer.

How it is related to antibiotics

According to the study conducted by the department of radiation sciences in oncology at Umea University, Sweden, data was collected of individuals who have colorectal cancer of different age groups and genders. And the use of antibiotics was also studied between these groups. The results extracted showed a positive association between the two. The analysis was made on the data for the span of 2 years only and pointed mostly towards proximal colon cancer.

A surprising conclusion that was made was, for the women, the research showed a negative linkage between antibiotic use and proximal colon cancer.

The findings demonstrate that there are numerous reasons to limit antibiotic use. While antibiotic treatment is often vital and saves lives, caution is advised in the case of less severe ailments that can be expected to heal on their own or with the use of other medications. Above everything else, to prevent germs from establishing immunity against the drug and because drugs may raise the risk of proximal colon cancer.

Other causes of colon cancer

Other risk factors apart from excessive antibiotic use over a long span of time can be:

Family history

If anyone in your family has colon cancer, you are disclosed to the risk of contracting it. If the number of family members is more than 1, you are at a higher risk and should try to make lifestyle changes to avoid its development.


Colon cancer is more likely to develop in people who have insulin resistance or diabetes.

Smoking habits

Chain smokers are always at a greater risk of developing proximal colon cancer.


People who are in their mid 50’s are more likely to get cancer.

High-fat diet

A regular diet, which is low in fiber and heavy in fat and calories, may be linked to colon and rectal cancer. According to several kinds of research, people who eat a diet high in processed and red meat have an increased risk of colon cancer.

Alcohol use 

Alcoholic individuals should look out for the risk of developing cancer.

Inherited syndromes

Some gene changes passed down through generations can dramatically raise your risk of colon cancer. However, inherited genes are associated with just a tiny fraction of colon cancers. 

Restrict the antibiotic intake 

Health professionals around the world recommend and advise limiting the use of antibiotics. Always consult your medical specialist before initiating the course, and if you have started it, do not leave it midway. 

There is no significant harm in taking antibiotics for severe diseases here, but it should not be too frequent and unnecessary. Unnecessary in the sense that you are taking antibiotics for minor illnesses such as regular seasonal flu, fever, cough, etc. 

Alternatives to antibiotics

Since the 1940s, prescription antibiotics such as penicillin have helped individuals recover from diseases and conditions that would otherwise be fatal.

Natural antibiotics, on the other hand, are becoming more prevalent as a safer alternative.

Some of the natural antibacterial agents present in our homes can be:


Since ancient times, ginger has proven its therapeutic value in health management and is a possible anti-carcinogenic. In addition, recent studies using clinical testing have found that ginger and its contents have an essential role in disease prevention through modulating genetic and metabolic activity. 


Garlic has several antibacterial properties, among which allicin is the most discussed one—the enzyme alliinase aids in the production of allicin from the sulfur-containing amino acid alliin. The garlic clove contains alliin and alliinase in distinct compartments. 

It was used to treat diarrhea and parasite infections, and flu.


Honey includes hydrogen peroxide, which could explain why it has some antimicrobial qualities. It also contains a lot of sugar, which inhibits the growth of certain germs. Furthermore, honey has a low pH value. Thus, it works by removing moisture from bacteria, causing them to become dehydrated and ultimately die.


Oregano is thought to enhance immunity and act as an antioxidant. In addition, it may have anti-inflammatory qualities. 

While additional research is needed to back up these claims, several studies reveal oregano to be one of the most potent natural antibiotics, especially when turned into an oil.


Clove has been used in dentistry for centuries. Furthermore, clove water extract is now being researched and found to be effective. It is effective against a broad range of microorganisms, including E.coli.


 Goldenseal is a herb with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties used to treat respiratory infections and flu.

Its extracts were found to prevent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from damaging body tissue and prevent E.coli from adhering to the gut lining.

Cumin seeds

Black cumin seeds are known for their medicinal properties due to a component known as thymoquinone. When used in combination with honey and Nigella Sativa, it has been observed to decrease symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and hence increase life expectancy.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is made from the steamed leaves of the Australian melaleuca tree.

It includes several chemicals that kill bacteria, viruses, and fungus, including terpinene and viruses that lead to illnesses, including colds, pneumonia, and influenza.

Tea tree oil is also commonly applied topically to minor wounds and bruises due to its antibacterial properties against aureus and other germs that can cause skin infection.


The conclusion of this whole discussion was to make people aware of the irrelevant and frequent use of antibiotic drugs for minor medical issues. For instance, even though Proximal colon cancer is treatable, it may prove fatal in some health conditions, the risk factors indicated in the use of antibiotics.

Written by HealthRadar360

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