Contact Allergies May Protect from Certain Cancers

Contact allergies may be protecting you from cancer. New research out of Denmark published this week in the medical journal BMJ Open is suggesting that if you have contact allergies to metals like nickel, you’re at lower risk for certain cancers. This is encouraging if you’re among the 30 to 45 million people who suffer from a nickel allergy in the U.S. The fact that you’ve had to constantly worry what zippers and buttons are made of all these years may have a true silver (nickel?) lining.

The Danish study examined 17,000 men and women for contact allergies to metals and chemicals. About 35 percent of the participants tested positive for some kind of contact allergic reaction. Of those that tested positive, they found much lower risks for breast cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer. It’s not all good news unfortunately, seems those with contact allergies are at a slightly raised risk for bladder cancer.

What Is a Nickel Allergy?
According to, “Nickel allergy is actually classified as ‘Allergic Contact Dermatitis.’” That name is given to any substance that causes an allergic reaction when in contact with the skin. It usually starts as a redness and swelling. Without removal of the agent causing the reaction it can progress to blisters and open fissures. These wounds can then become infected.”

What to Do About Nickel Allgery?
So you may not get breast or skin cancer, but what do you do to control your nickel allergy? There is a promising cream that has been developed and tested with positive results on mice and pigs. The cream may soon be coming your way to aid in the itchy red rash that comes from metal allergies. In the meantime, stay away from allergens and stick with hydrocortisone cream or whatever your dermatologist recommends.

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1 Comment

  • OMG, I hate having nickel allergy, I hope there’s a cream for that AND keratosis pilaris, that’d be sweeeet. The cancer thing….is interesting but it doesn’t look like they’ve studied it quite enough to know for sure. Good news if it’s true though, maybe if they figure out why they have such a decreased risk they can use it to advance cancer research for a cure.

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