As you sit with your pack of tissues and box of allergy medication, the healthy offer you “feel better” murmurs, head pats and pitying looks, but you know that their acts of sympathy are nothing but show. Secretly, they are thrilled that you, not them, are afflicted with allergies, that you can’t go within two yards of a dust mite and that you have single-handedly kept Kleenex in business. You hate them, wishing every sneeze, sniffle and itchy red eye upon them. If only there were something you could have over them, some sort of health boon that they would never know, then, you could smile through the tissues.
Start grinning, because there very well might be.
Researchers have found that a history of allergies or hay fever correlates to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. They examined 276 pancreatic cancer patients and 378 controls. Those with allergies had a 57-percent lesser likelihood of developing the disease, particularly if they were male.
So it looks like your never-ending illness may have some benefits after all. But is this really the kind of health boon you were looking for?
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers. Untreated, the survival rate is three and a half months. Treated, it’s six. Every year at least 30,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States, and every year nearly that many die. The cause of this cancer is unknown, appearing more in men, older individuals, smokers and those with chronic pancreatitis, but for no clear reason why. Diagnosis is often delayed, as the most common symptoms (loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal discomfort and fatigue) are vague and could be attributed to any number of different diseases. It’s not something you would want to have, and it’s not something you would wish on anyone else, regardless of their allergy-free state.
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