Cornell researchers say common allergy symptoms may help prevent some cancers, including: colon, skin, bladder, mouth, throat, uterus, cervix, lung and gastrointestinal tract.
Sneezing, coughing, watery and itchy eyes - all common allergy symptoms - may prevent cancers directly involving organs that are subject to external environmental elements, says Paul Sherman, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, who led the study.
Researchers analyzed 646 studies on allergies and cancers that were published within the past 50 years. They say doing this produced a comprehensive database on allergies and cancers.
Findings of the study suggested environmentally exposed tissues have a strong relationship to cancer and allergies. That same relationship seldom exists, says Sherman, with cancers of tissues not directly exposed to the environment, such as breast, prostate, myelocytic leukemia and myeloma.
Sherman explained that allergies may protect against certain cancers because the allergies promote the expulsion of toxins and carcinogen-carrying antigens. His findings, he says, are consistent with studies that say people with allergy symptoms are less likely to have toxic chemicals in their body.