Long-term antibiotic use in early to mid-adulthood is associated with increased risk of pre-bowel cancer growths, according to new research.
US researchers looked at 16,642 US female nurses involved in long-term cohort study, the Nurses Health Study, who had reported antibiotic use and had undergone at least one colonoscopy.
In the results published in the British Medical Journal’s Gut publication, researchers documented 1195 cases of colorectal adenoma (a growth in the colon or rectum), the precursor for most colorectal cancers.
“Increased duration of antibiotic use at age 20-39 and 40-59 was significantly associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenoma,” researchers say in the journal article.
“In contrast, recent antibiotic use within the past four years was not associated with risk of adenoma.”
The findings add to emerging evidence that the type and diversity of bacteria in the gut may have a key role in the development of cancer, the researchers say in a press release from the British Medial Journal.