Your microbiome at a glance
Your microbiome is your personal collection of trillions of microorganisms that live on and within your body. It provides many essential functions, such as helping your digestion and supporting your immune system. Your microbiome influences your metabolism, your sleep cycles, and more. An out-of-balance microbiome can make your body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more more supportive of cancer and can influence your response to some treatments.
Research links your microbiome—and changes in it—to several types of cancer, and especially colorectal and advanced lung cancer. The composition of your microbiome can also influence how well you respond to chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or stem cell transplant.
Some symptoms—such as gastrointestinal distress, itching, difficulty urinating, pain, rash, and more—might be telling you that your microbiome is out of balance. Your physician can order tests to diagnose an imbalance.
Antibiotics and some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, can disrupt your microbiome. Surgery involving your digestive organs can also disrupt your microbiome. Taking probiotics with your surgical team’s supervision both before and after surgery may return your microbiome to balance quickly. What you eat is also key to creating and maintaining a healthy microbiome.