Dr Bassett was recently contacted by ABC News correspondent Kim Carollo to comment on a new study that suggests there could be a link between skin allergies and the risk of developing certain cancers.
In research released on Monday, July 11, 2011, Danish researchers followed nearly 17,000 Dutch adults who were tested for skin allergens over a 23-year period. More than 6,000 of them tested positive for an allergy to at least one chemical or metal, and those people were found to be at a lower risk of non-melanoma skin cancers and breast cancers, but at a higher risk for bladder cancer.
But these results don’t mean that people with skin allergies are at a higher or lower risk for cancer. The authors stress the study merely suggests an association between skin allergies and cancer risk, although they believe it does offer more proof of the immunosurveillance hypothesis.
“Theoretically, the authors believe skin allergies put the immune system in overdrive, which is called the immunosurveillance hypothesis” said Dr. Clifford Bassett, assistant clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone School of Medicine. Bassett was not involved in this research. “This means the immune system may be super-responsive, and perhaps there’s some protective function and therefore, the immune system is prehaps more likley to fight off certain things, including cancers.”