New Delhi, Aug 23 (ANI): Popping even a single course of antibiotics might increase, though slightly, the risk of developing colon cancer a new study suggests. The study was published in the journal 'Gut' highlighted the need for judicious use of this broad category of drugs, which are frequently improperly or overprescribed. "The primary message of this study is the importance of antibiotic stewardship: not treating common viral infections with antibiotics, using them for the shortest time period possible, and using targeted antibiotics rather than broad-spectrum ones," said study leader Cynthia L. Sears, Bloomberg Kimmel Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The researchers found that those who developed colon cancer were slightly more likely to have been exposed to antibiotics (71.3 per cent compared to 69.1 per cent). Further investigation showed that antibiotic exposure was only associated with increased risk of approximately 15 per cent for cancer in the proximal colon (the first and middle parts of the colon) but not the distal colon (last part of the colon), and this risk happened particularly after exposure to classes of antibiotics that kill anaerobic bacteria, such as those in the penicillin family.