Migraines cut risk of breast cancer

In a puzzling twist, women who have a history of migraine headaches are far less likely to develop breast cancer than other women, American researchers said.

The study is the first to look at the relationship between breast cancer and migraines, and its findings may point to new ways of reducing a woman's breast cancer risk, they said.

Dr Christopher Li and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington found the correlation between migraines and breast cancer during a survey of 2,000 post-menopausal women with breast cancer and 1,500 post-menopausal women with no history of breast cancer.
"We found that, overall, women who had a history of migraines had a 30 per cent lower risk of breast cancer, compared to women who did not have history of such headaches,"said Dr Li of the Research Center in Seattle, whose findings appear in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers And Prevention.
Dr Li said the reduction in risk was for the most common types of breast cancers - those driven by hormones, such as oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer and progesterone-receptor positive breast cancer.

Hormones also play a role in migraines, a brutal type of headache often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and heightened sensitivity to light and sound. Women are two or three times more likely than men to get migraines.

While it is not exactly clear why women with a history of migraines had a lower risk for breast cancer, Dr Li and colleagues suspect hormones play a role.

He added that migraines are often triggered by low levels of the hormone oestrogen, such as when oestrogen levels fall during a woman's menstrual cycle.

Source: Reuters



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