Allergies may protect you against cancer

Allergies may protect you against cancer

If you feel hard done by having been dealt the allergy card, don’t despair.

There have been studies (1-9 below if you are interested in reading them) that showed that people with allergies have a reduced risk of developing cancer. It is thought that the Th2 pathway which is responsible for the allergic pathway, could be protective against environmental carcinogens and infections. Translate that into normal English? The heightened and overactive immune system in an allergic individual could provide better surveillance and destruction of abnormal cancerous cells and remove carcinogens.

Before you get the champagne out, the scientific evidence is still patchy and at times conflicting so watch this space… but at least there might be SOME good news after all for allergy sufferers out there!


  1. Cockcroft, D., Klein, G., Donevan, R. & Copland, G. Is there a negative correlation between malignancy and respiratory atopy? Ann Allergy 43, 345-7 (1979).
  2. Merrill R, Isakson R, Beck R. The association between allergies and cancer: what is currently known? Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 99, 102-117 (2007)
  3. LaVecchia, C., Negri, E., D’Avanzo, B., Boyle, P. & Franceschi, S. Medical history and primary liver cancer. Cancer Res 50, 6274-7 (1990).
  4. LaVecchia, C., D’Avanzo, B., Negri, E. & Franceschi, S. History of selected diseases and the risk of colorectal cancer. Eur J Cancer 27, 582-6 (1991).
  5. Wang, H. & Diepgen, T. Atopic dermatitis. British Journal of Dermatology 154, 205-210 (2005).
  6. Mesquita, B.d., Maisonneuve, P., Moerman, C. & Walker, A. Aspects of medical history and exocrine carcinoma of the pancreas: a population-based case-control study in The Netherlands. In J Cancer 52, 17-23 (1992).
  7. Negri, E. et al. Allergy and other selected diseases and risk of colorectal cancer. Eur J Cancer 35, 1838-41 (1999).
  8. Zacharia, B. & Sherman, P. Atopy, helminths, and cancer. Med Hypotheses 60, 1-5 (2003).
  9. Association between Cancer and allergies. Allergy, Asthma and clinical immunology. 2016.
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2 Replies to “Allergies may protect you against cancer”

  1. Great tip. Had no idea. Thanks

    1. You are welcome Ana! There are some conflicting results but at least there might be some good news for allergy sufferers!

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