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Antibiotic Resistence Potentially Dangerous to Cancer Patients

Posted 10/27/2015

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  We have all read or heard a lot about the rising problem of bacteria being resistant to antibiotics. Part of this is no doubt due to the "smartness" of these cells that manage to mutate and outwit their drug enemies. But the largest part is completely our fault, due to the widespread overuse of antibiotics in people and even in animals that later become part of our dinner.

  I suspect that all of us can remember an occasion when we asked for or were given an antibiotic when it was not really certain that it was necessary or would help. For example, antibiotics don't help common colds or the flu, but sometimes people want them anyway, and sometimes doctors will prescribe them. This is a very scary article from Consumer Healthday about the consequences for cancer patients to these behaviors:

Antibiotic Resistance Could Threaten Surgery, Chemo

THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- More people will die from common surgical procedures and cancer treatments if dangerous bacteria continue to develop resistance to widely used antibiotics, a new study warns.
Patients rely on antibiotics to protect them from potentially deadly infections after undergoing chemotherapy, pacemaker implantation,c sections or countless other medical procedures, said study senior author Ramanan Laxminarayan. He is director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, a public health research organization in Washington, D.C.
The new study, published Oct. 15 in The Lancet, estimates that as many as half of infections after surgery and more than a quarter of infections after chemotherapy are caused by organisms already resistant to standard antibiotics.
If antibiotic resistance increases by just 30 percent in the United States, the tougher-to-treat bacteria could cause 6,300 more deaths a year and 120,000 more infections in patients undergoing either chemotherapy for cancer or 10 common surgical procedures, the researchers projected.
"Anytime you're going to need a surgery or a transplant, you're going to need effective antibiotics. It's something that affects all of us,"Laxminarayan said.


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