There are several conditions that older adults can get that are treated with antibiotics. While it’s important that your aging relative follows the doctor’s treatment plan, you should also be aware of how antibiotics might affect other areas of their health.
A new study suggests that older adults who have been on antibiotics for a prolonged period of time or who have had multiple courses of antibiotic treatment may be at higher risk for colon cancer, so caregivers should be on the lookout for signs of the disease.
Antibiotics and Colon Cancer Study
In a recent report published in the medical journal Gut, researchers reported that they found a link between antibiotic use and colon cancer. The study involved data from 166,000 middle-aged and older adult patients. Of those people, 29,000 were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer. Each patient diagnosed with cancer was compared to 5 other people who did not get cancer.
The results of the study showed that people who had received a prescription for antibiotics had a slightly higher risk for colon cancer. If they were on the drug for two weeks, their risk went up to 9 percent. Those who took antibiotics for over 60 days in total had an increased risk of 17 percent. Though antibiotics were linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, the risk for rectal cancer decreased a bit.
The study doesn’t prove that taking antibiotics causes colon cancer. Nor are researchers certain why there might be a link. One reason may be that antibiotics affect the gut microbiome, meaning that it throws off the balance of good bacteria to bad. That could allow bad bacteria that may lead to the growth of colon cancer to flourish.
Signs a Senior May Have Colon Cancer
If your older family member has taken antibiotics for a prolonged period of time or as been on them several times, it may be wise to know the symptoms of colon cancer so you can be on the lookout for them. Some signs of colon cancer include:
- Persistent diarrhea or constipation, or a change in stool consistency.
- Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding.
- Frequent cramps, gas, or pain.
- Feeling like the bowel isn’t empty even after a bowel movement.
- Weight loss without an apparent reason.
If your aging relative is diagnosed with colon cancer, home care can assist them during the treatment and recovery period. A home care provider can drive them to treatment appointments and stay with them afterward to help with side effects or allow them to rest. Home care providers can also be an important source of support to deal with a difficult diagnosis.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Grass Valley, CA, talk to the caring staff at Partners in Care today. Serving El Dorado, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Placer, Butte, Glenn, Yolo, & Colusa Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! (530) 268-7423