Asthma is not an enjoyable condition to live with; symptoms of this disease typically include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and breathing difficulties. But suppose asthma actually had an unexpected benefit ‒ such as a lower risk of dying from prostate cancer.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University believe that asthma may have such an effect on the prostate. This group reviewed the medical histories of nearly 48,000 men, publishing their findings in the International Journal of Cancer.
Data from these men was collected via survey; in addition, the participants allowed the Johns Hopkins team to analyze their medical records. Thanks to these resources, the study was able to develop a rather detailed picture of the men’s health from 1986 through 2012. During this period, nearly 800 men succumbed to prostate cancer.
A Firm Link?
In an interesting twist, aggressive prostate cancer was 29 percent less likely to appear in men with a history of asthma. Furthermore, asthmatics had a 36 percent lower risk of dying from this form of cancer. Curious as to whether this connection could be attributed to other factors, the team took into account the men’s use of asthma medications, as well as their age when diagnosed with asthma. Even when adding this data to the equation, the team’s original findings remained intact.
The authors stress that, despite their conclusions, the study does not prove that prostate cancer poses less of a threat to asthmatic men. ““We don’t know yet whether the association we see in this observational study is a case of cause and effect,” stated study author Elizabeth A. Platz. The report’s conclusions came as a surprise, as the researchers originally believed that the presence of asthma could increase prostate cancer risk.