Cancer cases have steadily increased in Spain in recent years. In In 2022, diagnoses reached 290,175, 1.34% more than in the previous year, according to the Spanish Association Against Cancer. The causes of this disease are varied and, in many cases, even unknown. However, investigations have deepened in this aspect and have been able to verify the existence of a relationship with drugs commonly used in Spain. these are the birth control pill, omeprazole and antibioticsto which several studies have pointed.

In the first case, the pills are composed of a synthetic variant of estrogen and progesterone in different proportions, according to the formula. In addition, it is on the list of the International Center for Research on Cancer (IARC), dependent on the World Health Organization (WHO). Within the classification they have the first degree; This implies that there is enough evidence that they are carcinogenic to people. However, the risk is considered low and, after discontinuing use, it decreases again.

Something to keep in mind is that the studies that establish this relationship are observational. An example would be the analysis of data from more than 150,000 women who participated in 54 epidemiological samples. “It has been shown that, in general, those who have used oral contraceptives have 7% increased risk compared to breast cancer compared to women who never used it”, they explain at the National Cancer Institute of the United States, according to The Spanish.

More research is needed on the relationship between these products and cancer

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women in Spain. The forecast is that in this 2023 there will be 35,001 new cases. Despite these numbers, there is good news.cia: mortality has dropped in recent years and survival has grown to 86%. This is also due to early diagnosis, which allows treatments to be more effective. The appearance of this disease, among other factors, is related to age, genetic inheritance, alcohol consumption and obesity.

Another cancer-related drug is omeprazole. This is a classic in Spanish medicine cabinets to calm the stomach diseases. It is part of the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, which are the most effective when it comes to reduce gastric acid secretion. Although they are considered safe and effective, there is evidence that prolonged use can pose significant health risks. An example would be a more likely to suffer from gastric cancer or tumor in the stomach.

He british journal of medicine published, in 2017, a study prepared by University College London and the University of Hong Kong on the subject. In it he established the relationship between the consumption of PPIs and the increased risk of this type of cancer. To reach this conclusion, they analyzed a sample of 63,000 subjects who overcame the action of Helicobacter pylori. From this, they observed that those who were treated with this group of drugs were twice as likely to develop the tumor.

Despite all these data, the scientific evidence for this association is not strong enough. Furthermore, a meta-analysis published last year in Food Pharmacology and Therapeutics recognizes that there is a excessive PPI consumption. He also warns that its side effects should not be overlooked, but reduces the forcefulness of statements about omeprazole.

Stomach cancer, in turn, is what most reduced its mortality in recent decades in Europe. Despite this, the numbers of diagnoses remain high: in 2022 there were up to 6913 new patients in Spain. One of the risk factors for developing them is precisely having a long-term infection with Helicobacter pylori.

Experts highlight the importance of responsible consumption

Omeprazole tablet with pills.
Omeprazole tablet with pills. Photo: Rafael Henrique (Zuma Press)

The last of the remedies is not just one, but a group: the antibiotics. The scientific community has been asking for their responsible consumption for years and only with a prescription. The main reason was prevent the emergence of resistant bacteria to these treatments. Now, in addition, this advice is also necessary for its possible relationship with colon cancera hypothesis supported by two studies.

One of them, carried out by British researchers, analyzed 8,000 colorectal cancer patients and 30,000 healthy people. They noted that those under 50 years of age with a history of antibiotic use had a 49% increased risk in the colonbut not in the rectum.

The second investigation studied 40,000 people with colorectal cancer and 200,000 without cancer. This study, carried out by Swedish scientists, found that those who took antibiotics for more than six months had a 17% higher risk of developing one of these cancers.