Epidemiologic evidence regarding the association between allergic diseases and cancer has been inconsistent.
This Canadian study examined whether a history of asthma or eczema is associated with various cancers among men in a population based case-control study conducted in the 1980s. Questionnaire-based interviews were performed in 3,300 cancer cases and 512 population controls
A history of asthma was negatively associated with all cancer types combined (odds ratio (OR), 0.72) and similarly for a history of eczema (OR, 0.66).
Although ORs between asthma and eczema and most individual cancer types were below 1.0, only 2 ORs were significantly below 1.0: that between asthma and stomach cancer (OR, 0.27) and that between eczema and lung cancer (OR, 0.34).
Allergic conditions that result from a hyperreactive immune system might lead to a more efficient elimination of abnormal cells, thus lowering cancer risks.
History of asthma or eczema and cancer risk among men: a population-based case-control study in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. El-Zein M, Parent ME, Kâ K, Siemiatycki J, St-Pierre Y, Rousseau MC. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010 May;104(5):378-84.
Relationship between Allergy and Cancer: enhanced immunosurveillance might prevent cancer http://goo.gl/uq9mC
The nascent field of AllergoOncology http://goo.gl/tUZ32
Image source: Cancers are caused by a series of mutations. Wikipedia, public domain.
Comments from Twitter:
@lrlee: Guess I'll never get cancer then - Allergies may lower cancer risk http://goo.gl/JIv7