If antibiotic resistance persists — for cancer patients, this may mean higher mortality, more difficult and more expensive treatment, and many side effects. Many treatment options will disappear entirely.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria will thus set cancer treatment back for decades, while the incidence of cancer cases will continue to rise in the years to come.
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can damage the immune system. A course of antibiotics is prescribed to provide a much-needed boost alongside your body’s own defences.
Bacterial infection is one of the most common complications among cancer patients. A weakened immune system and infections can prove life-threatening for patients with serious diseases. After surgery, many patients require antibiotics to treat infected wounds.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy kill cancer cells, but also cells that are part of our defence mechanism against infections. This means that patients who receive radiation or chemotherapy often develop infections that require treatment with antibiotics.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 cancer patients need antibiotics during their cancer treatment. Some cancer types, such as acute leukaemia and bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma) for example, cannot be treated without effective antibiotics.
Cancer diagnosis will also become more difficult. There are already major concerns that prostate biopsies will present high risks for patients with antibiotic resistant bacteria in the bowels.