Can Allergies Prevent Cancer?

Who would have thought that having allergies could actually be good for you? You may hate the sneezing, coughing, and itching that come with allergies, but researchers have discovered a new reason to appreciate this misery. They believe that your allergies may help prevent cancer.

The Allergies and Cancer Connection

Scientists from the University of Chicago compared the prevalence of allergies among participants diagnosed with a common type of brain cancer against those who were cancer-free. Interestingly enough, the healthy patients were more likely to suffer from allergic conditions than those who had cancer. This demonstrated the possible role that allergies may have in preventing cancer.

These findings also reinforce the results of other similar studies looking at the benefits that different types of allergic conditions (including nasal allergies, food allergies, asthma, and eczema) bring to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Why Allergies Helps Prevent Cancer

Exactly why this relationship exists is not fully understood. Some scientists conclude that the cost of having a body that successfully fights off cancer cells is a weakened immune system that doesn't tolerate allergy triggers as well. Regardless of how the relationship occurs, though, it's becoming increasingly clear that many people's bodies are programmed to be vulnerable to either allergies or to cancer, but not to both conditions.

What You Can Do

You don't have to sit back and suffer from allergy symptoms feeling the trade-off is worth it. You should still take precautions to avoid your allergy triggers. Use your seasonal allergy control medications as directed, and if you're still suffering, consider exploring immunotherapy.

In addition, it's still important to take any health concerns seriously and have them checked out by your doctor. Undergo any recommended cancer screenings. There's no guarantee that just because you have allergies, you won't get a more serious illness, but hopefully the odds will be with you. 


"Does Allergy Protect Against Cancer?" Allergy & Asthma News. Allergy/Asthma Information Association, 2006. Web. 7 March 2011.

"Hey Fever! The Surprise Benefit of Allergies." The University of South Wales. UNSW, 29 July 2008. Web. 7 March 2011.