Link Found Between Allergies and Lower Cancer Risk

Sep 2, 2009 by

Link Found Between Allergies and Lower Cancer Risk

Physical symptoms like runny nose and fever can be very uncomfortable, and most people just want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Such reactions and symptoms, however, play a very important role in the body’s healing processes. A runny nose, for example, allows the body to flush out unwanted agents, while a fever is the signal for the body’s immune system to go into overdrive in a bid to destroy harmful invaders.

How about allergic reactions, then? Are there any health benefits to them? Remarkably, research has linked allergies to a lower risk of getting cancer.

Allergies Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk

by Reuben Chow

In the instant-solution and quick-fix world that is the present day, allergy reactions are often quelled using chemical drugs in order to bring about a quick end to any physical discomfort which one may be going through. However, recent research published in The Quarterly Review of Biology has strongly suggested that allergies have an important role to play – protection against toxic substances which cause certain types of cancer.

Details and Findings of Study

The article, which was written by researchers from Cornell University, has given an indication that the symptoms of allergies may help ward off cancer by doing their part to expel foreign particles, some of which may be carcinogenic or carry carcinogens with them, from the body. Allergic reactions also serve as alarm bells for potential harmful substances in the air.

A link between allergies and cancer has long been postulated in the medical community. But after many studies carried out on the subject, confusion still persists, with some studies finding positive correlation between the two (i.e. cancer patients suffered from more allergies), some finding the opposite, and some unable to establish any association at all.

But some light was shed when the Cornell study team looked at close to 650 previous studies carried out in the last half a century and examined the effects of different types of cancer as well as specific types of allergic reactions. Their findings were more than interesting.

Stronger Link Found in Organs Which Had Direct Contact With Environmental Particles

Negative correlation between allergies and cancer were a lot more likely to be found with regard to cancers of organs which had direct contact with particles from the environment external to the body. These include the mouth, throat, cervix, pancreas, glial brain cells, colon as well as rectum. Just to recap, a negative correlation means that those who suffered more from allergies were less likely to also have cancer – this implies a protective effect of the former on the latter.

Such negative correlation, however, was less likely for cancers of tissues which were more isolated, such as the breasts, prostate and meningeal brain cells; correlation was also weaker for myeloma, myelocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

With regard to specific types of allergic reactions, negative correlation between allergies and cancer was only found for those reactions associated with bodily tissues which had direct exposure to external attacks – namely eczema, food allergies, meat allergies, hay fever and hives.

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