I’ve seen several articles over the past few months related to antibiotics and a connection to cancer (and specifically, breast cancer). Here is one from September that speaks of the studies, as well as additional studies that try to discount the claim.
Whether or not you believe in this research, my own story does involve a history of antibiotic use. And while I will never know what caused me to get breast cancer (most likely it was a variety of factors), I can’t help but wonder about my own antibiotic use.
Over the years, I had frequent sinus infections. I would regularly be prescribed antibiotics to help with those infections… and shortly thereafter, I would invariably get a urinary tract infection, requiring another antibiotic. It was very cyclical and it wasn’t until I discussed this with my urologist (after many years of this) that I realized that certain antibiotics (the ones I was taking for my sinuses) screw up the good “flora” in my system. As a result, it was no coincidence that the sinus infection was followed by a UTI.
I realized that my antibiotic use was excessive after we had a problem with our septic tank overflowing on a regular basis several years ago. Being that only 3 of us live in our house, we shouldn’t need our septic tank pumped too frequently. But after having a few problems with this, the septic expert was trying to figure out why it was happening. We had done all the right things to remedy the problem. But then he said… “I’ve only ever seen this problem in houses where someone has a chronic illness requiring them to be on a lot of antibiotics.” (Gulp.) That’s when I swore off antibiotics for good (well, except for when I went through chemo), and I have had no problems with an overflowing septic system since. Hmmmm…
And then there is Ray. Again, we’ll never know what really contributed to him getting leukemia. He swore it was related to living near a land fill in his home town. But I always suspected antibiotics. The years prior to his diagnosis in 1996 Ray and I had both been going through a lot of fertility-related procedures and tests. At one point, Ray was being treated for prostatitis, which required him to take large doses of ridiculously expensive antibiotics (I remember being shocked to pay $250 for one of them!). Within a year of taking these drugs, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Coincidence, or something else?
Now, I’m not saying that these experiences are any kind of proof of a linkage. There are certainly many things that may have contributed to these cancers, but when I read articles suggesting a linkage, I have to say I’m not surprised.
There are a host of reasons not to take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Here’s just another one to consider.
Missing Link (1999) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0127023/