Females with Higher Levels of “bad” Bacteria at Higher Risk of Developing Cancer

By Lynchbox (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Women who have higher levels of “good” bacteria are less likely to develop breast cancer, according to a new study. However, having more harmful bacteria in the breast, known to cause damage to the DNA, is linked with a higher risk of tumor development. Scientists said the finding may encourage more women to use probiotic yogurt drinks that promote healthy bacterial growth in the body.

The Study

Breast cancer rates are lower in women who breastfeed and the milk produced has “good” bacteria. Past research has discovered bacteria in probiotic drinks can reach the cells in a woman’s breast, leading some researchers to think they could help in the prevention of cancer.

Dr. George Reid, a professor of surgery at Western University in Ontario, Canada says, “Since human milk contains beneficial bacteria, we wondered if they might be playing a role in lowering the risk of cancer.”
To examine the theory, Dr. Reid and his team obtained breast tissue samples from 58 women. Some of these women had cancer, while others had benign growths and a third group were healthy. Dr. Reid states two types of healthy bacteria, Lactobacillus and Streptococcus, were more common in healthy breasts than in those with tumors.

These types of “friendly” bacteria protect the body by manufacturing antioxidants, which are chemicals that stop the damage to cells that’s caused by oxygen molecules known as “free radicals.”

The doctor added potentially harmful bacteria like E. coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis were found to result in DNA damage in breast cells that were cultured in the laboratory. When the body tries to fix DNA damage, mistakes can result, causing the growth of tumors, the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology reported.

Dr. Reid stated further research is required, but probiotic drinks should be explored as a possible cancer prevention tool, if these drinks could increase the amount of “good” bacteria in the breast.
The findings of the study come a month after thousands of breast cancer sufferer’s face being denied a “game-changing” medication because of insurance issues, red tape and cost prohibition.

A landmark study proved the daily pill stops advanced tumors in their tracks and enables a breast cancer patient to lead a normal life.

The medication, called palbociclib, could help women who have few treatment options other than drugs
and it could temporarily halt the spread of tumors. Other researchers found overweight fathers may be placing their daughters at risk of breast cancer.


Scientists state the daughters of fathers but slim mothers are overweight when born and throughout childhood and have delayed development of their breast tissue, as well as increased rates of breast cancer. More study is needed to find out if probiotic drinks can offer extra protection against breast cancer, especially for those who are at a higher than average risk.


The information provided on CancerTreatment.net is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute the practice of medicine. We encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician or nutritionist if they have any concerns regarding health issues related to diet, personal image and any other topics discussed on this site. Neither the owners or employees of CancerTreatment.net nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.