Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day Care as anti-cancer treatment?

Had our first oncology visit yesterday. In discussing Hodgkin Lymphoma, our doctor said that there is some belief that a bunch of behavior factors affect who gets this disease. The poster child for this disease is:
  • middle/upper class male (check)
  • small family (check, I have one brother)
  • didn't go to day-care (check)
  • relatively late exposure to Epstein Barr virus (my brother had mono when I was 12 or 13, so check)
The thinking here is that the younger your immune system gets exposed to some of these threats/viruses, the better it gets conditioned and doesn't go haywire in later years and start producing malignant cells.Apparently the lifecycle of virus/infections in your immune system is different when you're little compared to when you get older.

So how's that for ironic. Grow up in a small nuclear family, have your mom be at home, don't get exposed to a lot of illness at a young age and it makes you an immune system weenie (or at least gives you an immune system that can misbehave in later years).

So the silver lining here is that for all you parents that have felt guilty about putting your kids into day care when they were infants, you catch a break! You may actually be helping their immune system develop.

I haven't seen any hard science behind this so it's just second hand information from a local oncologist. But it was interesting to see how I nicely (if that word is appropriate here) fit into the Hodgkin demographic.

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