A new study that is looking at the link between cancer and the immune system have discovered something surprising. Those that suffer from allergies may have an increased risk of blood cancer, but oddly, this research points to only one gender at risk – women. The study is published online, and will soon be print published in the American Journal of Hematology, in December. The study showed that if the person had a history of allergies of plants, grass and trees, then they were the most likely out of the group to get hematological cancer. But there was no corresponding link in men, which possibly means that there is something gender specific in the immune system in men that could prevent this type of cancer.
“[There is a] possible gender-specific role in chronic stimulation of the immune system that may lead to the development of hematologic cancers,” according to researchers. “To the best of our knowledge, ours is the first study to suggest important gender differences in the association between allergies and hematologic malignancies,”said Mazyar Shadman, who is the lead researcher on the project. According to Shadman, researchers are interested in the immune system and its possible role in cancer causation. There is quite a bit of evidence that the dysregulation of the immune system can determine whether cells survive or not if tumors were to develop.
The study, called VITAL, was open to people from 50, up to age seventy-six, who lived in the western part of Washington State. Each person that was in the research filled out a long questionnaire that had three basic areas – their medical history and risk factors for certain types of cancers, what medication they were taking, or supplements they were on and what kind of diet they had. The study also collected personal data as well as family histories. 66,000 people were selected from the group of 80,000 to be further examined.