No Link between Migraine and Breast Cancer

Relief for millions of women suffering from migraines: researchers have confirmed there is no link between migraines and breast cancer. Lead researcher Rulla Tamimi, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said, “There is no positive association, so there is no reason for concern, and there is no protective effect either.”

Previous studies hinted that migraine might even lower the risk for breast cancer, but that appeared to be a result of study design, the researchers concluded. The new study used data from 115,000 women, 18,000 of whom suffered from migraine, and monitored the participants for 20 years. The team also looked at the levels of sex hormones of about 2,000 premenopausal women and found no link between hormone levels and migraines.

“We don’t really understand the cause of migraines, but there has been a suggestion that they may be triggered by hormone levels,” she said. “We know that hormone levels are also associated with breast cancer, so perhaps there could be a link between migraine and breast cancer.”

Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, discussed the significance of these results: “In the ongoing quest to find out what contributes to the causes of cancer, sometimes a negative association can also shed light on the subject,” she said. “This study will give relief to many migraine sufferers, and give them one less thing to worry about.”


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