American Association for Cancer Research

AACR in the News

Health Buzz: Migraines Lower Breast Cancer Risk and Other Health News (U.S. News & World Report)

July 13, 2009

Source Date: July 10, 2009
Source Author: Megan Johnson
U.S. News & World Report

Women With Migraines Less Likely to Get Breast Cancer

Researchers have found that women who have a history of experiencing migraines are 26 percent less likely to get breast cancer, Reuters reports. The study out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle included more than 9,000 women, half of whom had breast cancer; the other half were healthy and were studied for scientific comparison. The researchers were motivated to look for a link between migraine and breast cancer because both health problems are related to hormones, they wrote in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. Migraines can be triggered by a drop in estrogen. Increased estrogen levels are known to boost breast cancer risk, Reuters reports. The lower risk of breast cancer in women with migraines could not be explained by differences in menopausal status, age at migraine diagnosis, use of prescription migraine medications, or when analyses were restricted to women who avoided various migraine triggers such as alcohol and smoking, the researchers wrote.