By Marta Corral. | According to data from the Spanish Association Against Cancer, cancer cases in Spain have increased steadily in recent years, reaching 290,175 diagnoses in 2022, an increase of 1.34% over the previous year. Although the causes of cancer are diverse and, in many cases, unknown, it has been shown that some drugs commonly used in our country are related to this disease. In particular, the contraceptive pill, Omeprazole and antibiotics have been the subject of various studies due to their possible link with this disease.

The contraceptive pill contains a synthetic variant of estrogen and progestogens in different proportions, depending on the formula, and has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), dependent on the World Health Organization (WHO), as a first degree carcinogen. Although the risk is considered low and decreases after stopping taking it, there is sufficient evidence that its consumption may be related to said pathology.

Most of the studies that link the contraceptive pill with breast cancer are observational, such as the analysis of data from more than 150,000 women who participated in 54 epidemiological samples. According to the National Cancer Institute of the United States, these studies have shown that women who have used oral contraceptives have a 7% higher relative risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who have never taken the pill.

Despite the worrying figures, it is important to be cautious in the conclusions. Breast cancer is the most diagnosed form of this disease in women in Spain, and it is expected that 35,001 new cases will be diagnosed in 2023. Although these figures are alarming, it is important to note that mortality has decreased in recent years and survival has increased to 86%, thanks in part to early diagnosis and more effective treatments. In addition, the onset of the disease is related to factors such as age, inherited genetics, alcohol consumption and obesity.

Omeprazole, a medication widely used in Spain to relieve stomach ailments, has been pointed out in various studies as a possible carcinogen. It is part of the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, considered the most effective in reducing the secretion of gastric acids. Although they are safe and effective, there is data suggesting that long-term use of these drugs may have significant health risks, such as stomach tumors.

A study published in 2017 by the British Journal of Medicine, prepared by University College London and the University of Hong Kong, established a relationship between the consumption of PPIs and an increased risk of gastric cancer. The analyzed sample included 63,000 subjects who had overcome the action of Helicobacter pylori. The results indicated that those who had been treated with this group of drugs were twice as likely to develop gastric cancer. These findings have generated concern in the medical community and have led to the recommendation to limit the use of PPIs in the short term, only in cases of medical necessity and under medical supervision.

However, the scientific evidence on the association between proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and stomach cancer is not strong enough. Indeed, a meta-analysis published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics last year acknowledges that PPIs are overconsumed and their side effects are not to be taken lightly, but reduces the force of the claims about omeprazole in particular.

Stomach cancer is the form of this pathology that has reduced its mortality the most in recent decades in Europe, but 6,913 cases were still diagnosed in Spain in 2022. One of the risk factors is chronic Helicobacter pylori infection.

The responsible consumption of drugs is of vital importance in relation to the prevention of cancer. Behind the contraceptive pill and Omeprazole, antibiotics have been pointed out as a possible risk factor in colon cancer. The scientific community has requested for years the responsible use of antibiotics only under medical prescription, mainly to prevent the appearance of bacteria resistant to these treatments. Now, that same advice is expanded due to the possible interaction of antibiotics with colorectal pathology, a hypothesis supported by two studies.

Studies linking various drugs to cancer

Various pills (resource image not related to the text). Pixabay

Two studies have supported the possible relationship between antibiotic use and colorectal cancer. The first of these, carried out by British researchers, analyzed 8,000 patients with colorectal cancer and 30,000 healthy people. They found that those under 50 with a history of antibiotic use had a 49% increased risk of colon cancer, but not rectal cancer.

The second study, carried out by Swedish scientists, looked at 40,000 people with colorectal cancer and 200,000 people without cancer, and found that those who had taken antibiotics for more than 6 months had a 17% increased risk of one of these types. Of cancer. These findings underscore the importance of proper and responsible use of antibiotics to prevent cancer.

It is important to note that the studies do not question the importance of these drugs for the treatment of certain infections, but do emphasize their responsible consumption. The reason why they may be related to cancer is their ability to destroy bacteria, including those that are beneficial to our body and with which we live in symbiosis, the microbiota.

In addition, there are other risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, red meat and tobacco. Colorectal cancer is the type of cancer that registers the most new cases in Spain, with more than 40,000 new diagnoses per year. Therefore, it is essential to lead a healthy lifestyle and proper use of medications to prevent this disease.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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