In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Day we decided to explore the connection between allergies and cancer. Although breast cancer is more common in females, it’s important to remember that it can occur in males too. The importance of regular breast checks as well as good lifestyle choices cannot be underestimated. Please do your bit to protect and take care of your health. For information about preventing cancer please click here. Remember early detection of any cancer significantly increase the chance of survival and positive prognosis!
There has been much hype in the past 30 years regarding a possible connection between allergies and cancer. While it is understandable that for someone with food or environmental allergies exploring this connection would be of interest to them, it would be wise, however, to stop and think in more practical terms. Is there a benefit in knowing? As anyone with an allergy would tell you- life is stressful enough, no more extras needed. Below we will list the studies that show a positive correlation- for the others (and unfortunately there are those too)- google it! Some studies showed a correlation between various types of cancer and different allergies. For example, there were reports that showed a higher occurrence of atopic dermatitis and allergic rhinitis among individuals with breast cancer compared to the control groups- however, the majority of reports face controversy regarding a connection for patience with a history of food and drug allergies.
Researches hypothesis that allergies could potentially protect the body against cancer development. When the body is in a hypersensitive state (such as an allergy) the immune system is better able to detect and eliminate malignant cells “In immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergies, high level of IgE could bind to the tumour-specific antigens and facilitate the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis mechanisms”.
In layman’s terms, there is a basis to this theory- allergies affect the immune system which is our body’s self-defence system. Our immune system contains special cells which protect us from many foreign and dangerous infections and the like. A person with allergies has an overactive and sensitive, treating normally harmless element as dangerous particles that the bodies need to be protected from. This causes allergy symptoms. When it comes to cancer, often the case it that the immune system under reacts and does the exact opposite. When a person has allergies their immune system is already on high alert and possibly sensitive to dangerous such as cancer. Scientists have made some attempts to prove this hypothesis but results are still somewhat sketchy.
1992- Researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology found females with drug allergies had a 21% decreased risk of cancer. It also showed a history of allergies decreased the risk of ovarian cancer
2005 – Researches in the journey of Cancer research suggested that allergies and asthma reduce the risk of brain cancer
2005- Researches in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggested that a person with allergies may have some protection against cancer in general. However, the results were inconsistence and the strength of the evidence was limited. The study also found a significantly lowered risk of cancer mortality and that of patients with a history of both asthma and hay fever.
2008- Researches for the National Institute of Health found that the cases where the chance of cancer was the lowest for people with allergies were with cancers of “tissues that interface with the external environment.”
2013- Researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology looked at the allergy/cancer connection finding reduced risk for pancreatic cancer among the most consistent findings. The study showed a 30% reduced risk for patients with allergies and a 45% risk for those with respiratory allergies.
2019- A study reported that results are still classified as inconclusive and more research is required.
In conclusion, while it’s possible that having allergies may offer someone some protection- the connection between allergies and cancer is complicated and further research is necessary. The most important thing is to know and look out for the signs and see your doctor for any changes you notice. Days like Breast Cancer Awareness Day are really important in spreading knowledge and to educate the public. Breast cancer death rates have decreased by 40% in recent years! Let’s keep that number going down……
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During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA