Summary:   Allergy protects against cancer. It may sound strange, but it turns out that allergy is not as bad as we think. Allergy really makes us more “alert” against cancer. Evidence on the link between cancer and allergy has been pouring out in the last few years. It is supposed that allergy “vaccinates” our body against cancer.

Statistical procession of data collected from different clinics, research centers and outpatient treatments yielded a significant correlation between the presence of allergy and low incidence of cancer among allergy sufferers.

Allergy sufferers are much less likely to get cancer than people who aren’t 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, lung, skin, throat and intestinal cancers than non-asthmatics. And kids with airborne allergies were 40 percent less likely to get leukemia (University of Minnesota, January 2010).

More work is still needed, but the numbers show allergy is a statistically significant protective factor, because allergy awakens immune system and therefore makes it more vigilant to any threats (Dr. Zuber Mulla, a Texas Tech epidemiologist).

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 by as much as 58 percent.

The University of Ottawa found that a “history of hay fever was associated only with a significantly lower risk of pancreatic-cancer mortality, and a history of asthma was only associated with a lowered risk of leukaemia mortality (University of Ottawa, 2010 Edition).

Some experts believe that people bothered 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. Pollen is bees’ major food source, rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and nutrients. Pollen is used by bees to make propolis that also kills cancer cells. So maybe the allergy to pollen is of more protective role regarding cancer, as compared to other forms of allergies.

But scientists at National Institutes of Health have found evidence that there is a link between allergic and autoimmune diseases because there were same genetic defects. Based on the fact that in cancer we do have immunologic changes and genetic alterations, logically we can postulate that genes against cancer might be partially similar to genes that cause allergy. But there’s nothing scientists can do to help people without allergies.

For those who do have allergies, some researchers have suggested not taking medicine, but other scientists think that that’s a bad idea. The latter think that “It’s better to treat your allergies, which can be pretty serious and in rare instances fatal”.

There are a lot of other factors, including smoking and obesity that contribute to cancer risk. To this end, we should not rush to conclude and hence do something on our own to prevent cancer by not treating allergy. Experts warn that those with allergies shouldn’t assume they have no chance of getting cancer.


COPYRIGHT: This article is the property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Vedat Sunguri ( Master of Pharmacy, University of Pristina).