A new study reveals that antibiotics if taken limitlessly can increase the risk of contracting cancer.
Using antibiotics more than 10 times during childhood can increase the risk of lymphoma, a cancer that affects the body's lymphatic system.
The study, conducted by Ellen T. Chang and colleagues from the Northern California Cancer Centre in Fremont, also found heavy use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, was linked with a marginally increased risk of NHL.
But no other types of medication were associated with the risk.
Previous studies pointed to a possibility that medications increase the NHL risk, but findings were not conclusive, except that strong immunosuppressive drugs were consistently linked to the disease.
Researchers looked at data from a Scandinavian Lymphoma Etiology study involving 3,000 patients with NHL and 3,000 healthy people drawn from Danish and Swedish population registers.
Antibiotic use was strongly associated with all subtypes of NHL. Heavy users of NSAIDS were more likely to have an elevated overall risk of NHL and the type of diffuse large B-cell NHL, but not any other type of NHL.
However, the study could not determine whether the increased risk was caused by antibiotics and/or NSAIDS. The causal relationship between the two remains unknown.
The risk could be due to inflammations and/or infections, both of which are generally believed to increase the risk of cancer.
Antibiotic use was also linked with breast cancer in previous studies. Those who have used it about 19 times are 2.5 times more likely to contract breast cancer. Using antibiotics more than twice was also associated with an increased risk of the disease.
Source: American Journal of Epidemiology.