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Study: Allergies linked to higher risk of cancer

GILBERT, Ariz. — A new study from the University of Washington Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center suggests that the risk of getting a blood cancer such as lymphoma or leukemia goes up if you have allergies to plants, trees or grass.

The risk comes from an elevated reaction of the immune system.

“The theory is that the substances that cause the allergies stimulate the immune system in a certain way,” said Dr. Uwe Klueppelberg of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert. “The more genetic activity there is, the higher the risk.”

Klueppelberg acknowledges that Arizona sees more cases of allergies due to non-native plant life. However, the risk associated in the study is very minor.

“The relative risk is only 1-2 percent,” he said.

More research will likely follow this study, but as of now there are no telltale signs that a sneeze is the sign of a bigger problem.