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A Benefit of Allergies? Lower Risk for Certain Cancers

Posted by John on September 16th, 2008

Allergies make people feel tired, run down, and just plain miserable. Allergies may cause itchy eyes, runny noses, and skin rashes – what could possibly be beneficial about allergies?

Medical News Today recently revealed an unexpected benefit of having allergies: People who have allergies are up to 25 percent less likely to get the most common type of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

A lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphocytes (white blood cells).

Researchers at the University of New South Wales expected to find allergic diseases might increase the risk for lymphoma; however, they found that allergies decrease the risk of lymphoma. Additionally, if a person has more than one type of allergy or atopic disease (such as seasonal allergies, asthma, and eczema), then their cancer risk drops even further.

Finally, some good news for allergy sufferers!

NHL is a serious form of cancer that has become much more common in the last 50 years. It is three times more prevalent now than in 1950, making it one of the leading causes of cancer death.
Furthermore, a 2005 study in Cancer Research suggests that allergies reduce the risk of brain cancer. Other studies, however, indicate that allergies may increase the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer.

I would speculate that allergies may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer by keeping the immune system on a level of increased alert. On the other hand, chronic inflammation (including untreated allergic disease) can damage the body and increase the risk of cancer.

HEPA vacuum cleanersOne thing is certain: Environmental control decreases the risk of both allergies and cancer. For instance, air cleaners, HEPA vacuums, and vapor steam systems all rid your environment of both allergens and carcinogens.

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