Allergy sufferers less likely to develop cancer
Thursday 05 March, 2015

Allergy sufferers less likely to develop cancer

Published On: Mon, May 24th, 2010 | Allergy | By BioNews

Suffering from an allergy? Well, here’s something to cheer about—you are less likely to get cancer if you are tormented by runny noses, itchy eyes and coughs, according to a series of surprising new scientific studies.

Texas Tech researchers revealed that asthmatics were 30 percent less likely to get ovarian cancer than non-asthmatics.

And kids with airborne allergies were 40 percent less likely to get leukaemia, according to research

Cornell University experts found reduced rates among lung, skin, throat and intestinal cancers.

“More work is still needed, but the numbers show allergy is a statistically significant protective factor,” the New York Post quoted Dr. Zuber Mulla, a Texas Tech epidemiologist who led the ovarian-cancer study, as saying.

“Allergies are a general activation of our immune systems. It’s hard to prove, and I’ve heard some skepticism, but it’s a concept in this field and the studies add to that,” added Dr. Ronald Crystal, chief of pulmonary and critical-care medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

And it is in the last few years that researchers have started gathering evidence on the link.

A team at Brigham Young University saw a lower risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and stomach cancer, while Harvard epidemiologists “observed a strong inverse relationship” between brain cancer and asthma, eczema, hay fever or allergy.

Doctors in Toronto concluded, “Having allergies or hay fever was associated with a reduced pancreas-cancer risk” — by as much as 58 percent.

According to some experts, people made miserable by pollen and other allergens have advanced immune systems and when they sneeze out irritants in the air, they also rid themselves of cancer-causing toxins.

However, there’s nothing scientists can do to help people without allergies.

They can”t replicate a hypersensitive immune system, and even if they could, medical ethics would prevent doctors from purposely triggering allergy symptoms, which make sufferers miserable and present short-term health threats.

For those who do have allergies, some researchers have suggested not taking medicine, but Crystal thinks that’s a bad idea.

“It’s better to treat your allergies, which can be pretty serious and in rare instances fatal,” he said.

He also warned that those with allergies shouldn’t assume they have no chance of getting cancer.

“There are a lot of other factors, including smoking and obesity, that contribute to cancer risk,” he added.

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