Thursday November 6, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- News
media suggest that migraine might reduce the risk of breast cancer citing a new
study that has found an association between high incidence of migraine and
lower risk of the disease.
The study led by Dr. Christopher I. Li from the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle showed that women who had migraine
were at 30 percent lower risk for breast cancer than those who did not have the
The study involved 3,412 postmenopausal women of whom
1,938 had been diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,474 had no history of the
The researchers wanted to see
the incidence of migraine in these two groups.
One possibility for this link is that according to the
researchers those who experienced migraine had lower levels of estrogen, which
at a higher level is a risk factor for breast cancer.
Dr. Ellen Drexler at Maimonides Medical Center in
Brooklyn, N.Y., does not buy such an explanation saying cited by healthday.com
that migraine brains are more sensitive to many exogenous and endogenous
Although falling estrogen levels are one of the causes,
but it is not known that female migraine suffers always have lower levels of
estrogen than those who do not experience thid condition, Dr. Drexler was cited
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society was
cited as saying that this study would result in no implications implying that
you can use migraine to reduce breast cancer even if migraine is the cause for
the reduction in breast cancer.
Dr. Stephen Silberstein at Thomas Jefferson University
Hospital in Philadelphia said flatly that the study was flawed because the
migraine data were self-reported and they were not trustworthy enough to be
used in a study anyway.
Regardless, the current study merely established an
association between the incidence of migraine and risk of developing breast
The results did not mean to say
the association is a causal relation.
The study was published in the November 2008 issue of
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
A health observer who did not want to be named suggested
that the association could really mean something.
He agreed that women who experienced migraine
are more sensitive to some environmental factors that trigger the episodes of
Because of these women may be more
likely than others to avoid some risk factors for migraine which may happen to
be also risk for breast cancer.
For instance, we know migraine may be caused by a number
of risk factors including stress, alcohol, caffeine, nitrates in hot dogs and lunch
meats, MSG, tyramine in aged cheeses, soy products, fava beans, hard sausages,
smoked fish and aspartame in Nutrasweet and Equal. Some of these factors are
recognized risk factors cancer.
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