Lets face it there are not too many positives in having Eczema or Dermatitis but science have found a very big positive that is also not only surprising but also shining new light on cancer research. In 2014 research conducted by King’s College London found that the immune response triggered by eczema and other similar skin disorders could help prevent the cancerous cells from forming reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer is a growing problem especially in Australia and USA. According to the World Health Organization, skin cancers account for one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide. For the last decade there has been some research that has shown evidences that patients with certain allergies might be protected against cancer and, in particular, the people with allergic skin condition.
Even thought there still needs to be further studies on the debate on whether allergic skin diseases has an impact on the likelihood of developing cancer, with some studies suggesting that eczema and dermatitis is associated with a reduced risk of skin cancer. The King College London was the first to analysis if this reduce risk was due to disease or the drugs used to treat the condition, that influence cancer. Published in eLife, the study show that allergy caused by the skin defects could actually protect against skin cancer.
The King College London (funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK) used genetically engineered mice lacking three skin barrier proteins replicate some of the skin defects commonly found in humans with allergic skin disorders. These mice and normal mice were used to test their theory.
Results of whether Eczema or Dermatitis reduce your chance of having skin cancer
The researchers compared the effects of two cancer-causing chemicals in normal mice and mice with the barrier defect. Researchers found that both types of mice were equally susceptible to acquiring cancer-causing mutations. The magnified inflammatory skin reaction leads to increase shedding of the skin and of potentially cancerous cells from the skin. The result was of this study showed that the number of benign tumors per the genetically modified mice was six times lower than in the normal mice. The findings suggest that defects in the epidermal barrier protected the genetically engineered mice against benign tumor formation. This cancer-protective mechanism bears similarities to that which protects skin from environmental assaults such as bacteria.
Mike Turner, head of Infection and Immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust, said, “Any insight into the body’s ability to prevent tumor formation is valuable in the fight against this form of cancer. These findings show that these skin disease can protect individuals from skin cancer support theories linking allergies to cancer prevention and open up new avenues for exploration whilst providing some (small) comfort for those suffering from eczema.”