Although there is no definitive answer yet, many researchers believe there could be a link. Here's why:
Some antibiotics interfere with the body's ability to absorb cancer-protective substances from the food we eat. Tetracycline and some other antibiotics increase the body's production of substances called prostaglandins. These substances increase the body's immune response, which leads to the production of certain molecules that are believed to increase cancer risk.
Even if there is no proven link between antibiotic use and cancer, everyone needs to be more conscientious when it comes to taking these valuable drugs. The overuse of antibiotics has been widely reported in the press recently. Patients' expectations for medicine and physicians' willingness to prescribe antibiotics have contributed to the problem. One-third of the 150 million outpatient prescriptions for antibiotics written each year in the U.S. are unnecessary, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
One of the results of overuse of antibiotics has been a biological counterattack -- the emergence of strains of bacteria that can grow despite treatment with drugs previously effective against the bacteria. We owe it to our own bodies and everyone else's to use antibiotics responsibly.