If you have eczema, you probably don’t think of it as useful or positive. But recent research may give you a reason to be thankful for eczema.
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes red, swollen and itchy patches on your skin. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis. It can be triggered by allergens,such as household dust mites. It is most common in babies and young children and can disappear or lessen in severity as children mature into adults. It normally appears on the neck, wrists, ankles and other areas of the body that bend. According to the National Eczema Association, over 30 million people in the United States have some form of eczema. Although there is no cure for eczema, with treatment it is manageable.
A study completed at the King’s College in London found that having eczema triggers an immune reaction that rids the body of potentially cancerous cells from the skin. It might, therefore, reduce the risk of skin cancer.
For the study, researchers genetically engineered mice to have skin defects similar to eczema in humans. They then used both the genetically engineered and normal mice to test two cancer-causing chemicals. The scientists found that the mice that had been genetically engineered has an inflammatory response that “led to enhanced shedding of potentially cancerous cells from the skin.”  The number of benign tumors found in the genetically engineered mice was six times less than those in the normal mice.
The researchers point out that it is difficult to understand how this translates to humans because symptoms of eczema vary widely from person to person and some of the medications used to treat eczema might influence the course of cancer development.
However, the scientists are excited by the possible link between the common skin condition and reducing skin cancer. They believe their study supports previous information that clearly links the immune system to skin cancer and therefore, modifying the immune reactions can help fight skin cancer.
With skin cancer rates on the rise around the world, research into controlling and preventing the cancer is ongoing. Some other recent research includes:
“Having Eczema May Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer,” 2014, May 6, Staff Writer, Kings College
Published On: May 12, 2014