Hives. Sniffing. Sneezing. Itchy tongue. Allergies are a nuisance and can even be life-threatening. But could it be that there’s some good news for allergy sufferers?

 

There’s an interesting theory among doctors that allergy may be protective against cancer. What do the medical studies say?

 

“Literature suggests that those with allergy have a reduced risk of developing cancer versus the general population,” writes Dr. Susan Waserman, an allergist in Hamilton.

 

She wrote Does Allergy Protect Against Cancer? for the Allergy Asthma Information Association of Canada’s website.

 

Here is a possible explanation: Allergy and cancer are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the immune system.


Allergies occur when the immune system is in a hyper-reactive state, while cancer is a type of immunodeficiency, explains Waserman. It’s possible that those with hyperactive immune systems aren’t as susceptible to cancer.


Many more studies are required before we have a definitive answer, she adds.