New study links early-onset colorectal cancer to childhood antibiotic use
(NaturalHealth365) There is understandably some concern that antibiotics are overprescribed, particularly in childhood. Everything from suspected strep throat to acne is treated with antibiotics, even when it is not necessarily the best course of action. This has led to an increased amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria worldwide.
But a study from the UK adds another layer of potential risk to be concerned about – a link between recurrent antibiotic use during childhood and adolescence and early-onset colorectal cancer. And, from a holistic perspective, this would make sense … since the overuse of antibiotics is known to increase the risk of digestive health problems.
This study offers an interesting look at a potential causal factor, so let’s take a look if this provocative hypothesis holds any merit.
Antibiotic overuse: A growing concern for childhood health
Antibiotics are undeniably overused, not only in children but across the general population. Often, a visit to the doctor for sinus issues can result in an unnecessary antibiotic prescription, even when sinusitis cases are predominantly viral. While antibiotics have been lifesavers, their overprescription has spawned a looming threat – bacterial resistance.
However, antibiotics are indiscriminate in their path of destruction, including the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome, central to this study’s hypothesis. Repeated childhood antibiotic courses can deplete the good bacteria, creating a favorable environment for harmful bacteria to establish a permanent presence. This alteration in the gut microbiome has been linked to conditions like depression, anxiety, IBS, and obesity. More alarmingly, it may also play a role in the early onset of colorectal cancer.
How the study was conducted
The study harnessed the extensive resources of the United Kingdom’s biobank, a repository comprising health records from over 500,000 individuals. To ensure precision, the researchers narrowed their focus to individuals within the age range of 20 to 55 who met specific criteria. Exclusions were made for those not of European ancestry, individuals previously diagnosed with different types of cancer, and cases of early-onset colorectal cancer occurring before the age of 19.
To delve deeper, the researchers scrutinized the selected cohort for genetic markers associated with colorectal cancer predisposition and familial history. Colorectal cancer is influenced by various alleles that either indicate early onset or elevate susceptibility.
Subsequently, the participant data was categorized into these distinct groups based on genetic markers. Each group was then subjected to a meticulous assessment of their history of recurrent childhood antibiotic use.
Does childhood antibiotic use increase colon cancer risk?
The results of the study indicated that childhood antibiotic use is a potential risk factor for early-onset colorectal cancer across all factors, although the greatest risk is in groups who have a genetic predisposition to colon cancer.
It is important to note that a correlation does not indicate causation, and it’s possible that antibiotic use is in addition to some other common risk factor during youth. It is also important to note that the greatest link between childhood antibiotic use and early-onset colorectal cancer exists in people who already have a significantly higher risk of colon cancer. In this group, in particular, the increased risk was between 33 and 135% greater, which is significant.
Reducing colon cancer risk factors
Genetics do not necessarily indicate that you are certain to get cancer. Your DNA might predispose you to cancer, but there needs to be environmental factors to trigger that switch, such as persistent inflammation, obesity, smoking, or alcohol use.
One of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of any type of cancer is to eat an organic diet; exercise; avoid smoking and alcohol plus work on resolving emotional traumas.
Getting quality sleep in complete darkness is also essential to reducing cancer risk.
For children, have a thorough conversation with their doctor to determine if antibiotics actually are necessary instead of relying on them as a first-line treatment whenever your child gets sick.
Your risk factors are under your control for the most part, regardless of your DNA, so living a healthy life can dramatically mitigate your risk of cancer. The power is literally in your hands. Make good decisions and you’ll reap the rewards of a healthier life.
Editor’s note: Find out how to naturally reduce your risk of cancer, own the Stop Cancer Docu-Class created by NaturalHealth365 Programs.
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