Breast Cancer and Antibiotics Use.
An article on breast cancer published this week
places a pall on antibiotic use. The study article on breast cancer,
published this week in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, found that women who regularly use antibiotics are at
double the risk of developing breast cancer.
This study article outlining the increase in breast cancer is quite
substantial but despite the numbers, several physicians and
researchers warn against discontinuing antibiotics, stating that more
research is needed to determine the exact connection. The antibiotics
themselves might contribute to breast cancer or underlying problems
that require antibiotics may possibly cause the increased breast
Researchers from the Group Health Cooperative's Center for Health
Studies, the University of Washington, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer
Research Center and the National Cancer Institute performed the study.
The research team studied 10,000 women and found that women who
reported high antibiotics use developed breast cancer at twice the
rate of women who reported never using antibiotics. High antibiotics
use was described as at least 25 prescriptions over a 17-year period.
Women who reported having taken between one and 25 prescriptions for
antibiotics were about half again as likely to develop breast cancer
as the women who took no antibiotics.
There are several theories in the article on breast cancer and
antibiotics use are being thrown around;
- That the breast cancer culprit could be the
underlying condition for which antibiotics are taken, not the
- That women who take antibiotics have a weaker
immune system which making them more susceptible to infections and
- That it really is the antibiotics that are
causing breast cancer.
Antibiotics indiscriminately kill the bad bacteria
as well as the body’s beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. The
immune system weakens when the beneficial bacteria is low, which could
open the way for a cancer to take hold.
It is also believed that cancer and inflammation are connected.
Antibiotics fight infection by making the body become inflamed. The
Feb. 23, 2004 Time cover story article entitled "The Secret Killer"
addresses the issue of inflammation in great detail. This article
outlines the connection between inflammation and heart attacks,
cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. It is definitely worth the
More than 211,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually and
more than 40,000 women each year will die from breast cancer. Breast
cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer, only behind skin cancer,
and is the second most deadly cancer in women. If you are female, you
have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer.
This new study linking high antibiotic use adds to recent studies
linking parabens in cosmetics and deodorants to breast cancer, though
the studies linking parabens and deodorant to
breast cancer are less conclusive than the antibiotics/breast
We believe that women should take any and all measures available to
reduce their risks of breast cancer. Although they cannot change their
sex or their age - the two biggest risk factors for breast cancer -
women can make lifestyle changes to lower their risks.
As this pertains to antibiotics use, women are well suited to look at
ways that they can boost their immune system so that the body can
naturally fight infection without the aid of antibiotics. Losing
weight, eliminating processed sugars and flours from the diet and
regular exercise are first steps in building your immune system.