In terms of stomach cancer, The World Health Organization classifies H pylori as a “class I carcinogen”, which means the bacteria are in the same classification as smoking and asbestos are for lung cancer. Furthermore, the general consensus is that H pylori infection is the number one risk factor for stomach cancer. It defies belief how some doctors pass off H pylori as non-problematic.
Some studies indicate relationships between H pylori and other types of cancer, leading scientists to become interested in the role of the infection in colon cancer. Its role in colon cancer is controversial.
A Greek study recently explored the relationship between H. pylori infection and this disease by analyzing a number of relevant studies (this type of study is called a meta-analysis). In these studies, researchers combine the pooled data from all the studies they can find and then put the values through a series of statistical analyses to determine correlations or relationships between different factors.
The Greek researchers found a statistically significant relationship between H pylori and colon cancer and concluded , “The results of this study showed a statistically significant relationship between H. pylori infection and colon cancer.”
T. Rokkas et al. Meta-analysis on the relationships between H. pylori infection and colon cancer. European Helicobacter Study Group. XXIII International Workshop on Helicobacter and Related Bacteria in Chronic Digestive Inflammation and Gastric Cancer. Rotterdam, September 16–18, 2010. P.334-5.
Dave Hompes Comment
Contrary to what many doctors will tell you, H pylori bacteria can inhabit areas of the digestive system outside the stomach. It has been detected in the gallbladder, liver ducts and colon, as well as the small intestine. But this doesn’t really prove the infection causes colon cancer and nor does the above study!
Establishing a “relationship” between H pylori and colon cancer does not confirm or prove that H pylori bacteria definitely cause the disease. It simply tells us that when you compare non-infected people with people infected by H pylori, the infected people have a higher incidence of colon cancer.
Many factors probably play a role in the development of colon cancer, but it’s reasonable to assume that the inflammation caused by H pylori may play a role in development of the disease in some people. What I will say is that H pylori should not be underestimated. As explained on this website and in my book, The H Pylori Diet, it has the potential to cause all manner of symptoms in different areas of the digestive system and the body in general and should be dealt with appropriately when ever detected.
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In love and light,
Dave Hompes & The Hompes Method team