What do you feel when you hear the word allergy? We know that most often than not allergies are associated with sheer nuisance and irritability with certain cases even being life threatening. A novel research by experts from the Cornell University however suggests otherwise. It reveals that allergies may actually be our body’s defence system against certain cancers.
A unique study by scientists Paul Sherman, Erica Holland and Janet Shellman Sherman indicates that symptoms of allergies are the body’s way of turning its back on foreign particles in the air that may be carcinogenic. So sneezing or a runny nose is more than just an annoying immune malfunction. They also appear to protect our organs from getting up close with particles that carry absorbed carcinogens.
Other than safeguarding our body against carcinogens, allergies also give us the high sign to stay away from damaging substances in the air by indicating their presence. To determine the role of allergies in cancer, researchers part of this innovative study analysed almost 650 studies performed in the past 5 decades or so. While earlier studies have long suspected a link between allergies and cancer, the latest one actually gives strong evidence to support it.
The research shows that for cancers of organ systems that are in direct contact with matter from the external environment like mouth, throat, colon, rectum, skin, cervix, pancreas and glial brain cells, the relation between the allergy and cancer was really strong. The same was true for allergies associated with tissues directly in contact with the environment like eczema, hives, hay fever and animal and food allergies.
People with cancers of more isolated tissues like the breast, meningeal brain cells and prostate, myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and myelocytic leukemia, had a far less history of allergies. The team of experts reveals that further studies are needed to decide if taking suppressants for allergies is a good option.
The research is published in the December issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology.