Migraines Lower Breast Cancer Risk: Study

Researchers see low estrogen levels as common denominator
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2008 2:18 PM CST
A scientist uses special glasses to review breast images on a planar stereo display workstation.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A history of migraine headaches can reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer, Reuters reports. The odd correlation has emerged from research done by cancer doctors in Seattle. “Overall, women who had a history of migraines had a 30% lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who did not have a history of such headaches,” a researcher said.

The association is hormonal: Common forms of breast cancer are caused by excess estrogen; migraines result from estrogen deficiency. “While these results need to be interpreted with caution,” the researcher said, “they point to a possible new factor that may be related to breast-cancer risk.” The study was of post-menopausal women; migraines are more common in pre-menopausal women, suggesting a lasting effect.