Having Allergies Protects Against Cancer

The pollen that irks you could also be saving you
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2010 4:42 AM CDT
Cancer protection is good news for the millions of Americans suffering from allergies and hay fever.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – If pollen leaves you cursing your runny nose and itchy eyes each year, take solace in this upside: Allergy, asthma, and hay fever sufferers have significantly lower risks of developing many cancers. New studies show that asthmatics are 30% less likely to get ovarian cancer, while kids with airborne allergies are 40% less likely to get leukemia. That may be because people sensitive to allergens have advanced immune systems, and expel cancer-causing toxins when they sneeze out irritants, say experts.

"More work is still needed, but the numbers show allergy is a statistically significant protective factor," an epidemiologist told the New York Post. Other recent research has linked allergies to lower risks of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer. Unfortunately, scientists can't "give" allergies to those who do not suffer from them.

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