No Breast Cancer Link to Chronic Migraines

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May 15, 2015

The latest scientific news should ease at least one major source of headache triggering stress for many women coping with chronic migraines. Researchers found there is no link between migraines and breast cancer. Since stress management is one of the first lines of defense in a complete migraine treatment strategy, learning about this medical information could benefit many of the 18 per cent of American women who suffer with migraine in the U.S., according to data from the Migraine Research Foundation.

In a study out of Harvard Medical School, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers sought to understand whether female sex hormones could lead to an increased risk for developing breast cancer among women with a migraine condition. Estrogen, the primary sex hormone in women, has long been associated with both conditions. For example, increased exposure to estrogen in the form of hormone replacement therapy has been linked with a possible increased risk for developing breast cancer. Fluctuating estrogen levels have been reported to cause migraines in some women. This can occur when a drop in estrogen triggers menstrual migraines.   Treatment follows the usual protocols for these individuals: migraine medication, hot/cold packs and rest.

According to a report about the Harvard study on the Government’s Medline website, the researchers reviewed data on ­approximately 115,000 women, which included 18,000 subjects with migraines. After 20 years it was determined that no connection existed between breast cancer and migraine. In fact, there was some inconclusive indication that if a woman has chronic migraine she may even have a lowered risk for developing breast cancer. But this was a weakly supported finding.

A cancer surgeon interviewed in the report stated, “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 added, “This study will give relief to many migraine sufferers, and give them one less thing to worry about.”

If this latest news eases a concern, you might have had about possible risks associated with your migraines, please don’t go searching for a new worry to take its place—stick with your regular migraine treatment, relax and smile!



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