Childhood vaccinations have come under fire over the past few years, and have been blamed for causing anything from autism to cancer, and it is certainly a hot button topic as evidenced by the responses to a blog post earlier this month by the Autism Spectrum Disorders guide. For many, even despite the fact that there is no evidence to support a link between vaccinating your children and these conditions, and a obvious benefit to it, immunizations have a negative connotation.
While it may not change anyone's minds about choosing to vaccinate their kids, an interesting study has come out of Texas that has discovered that children who received certain vaccinations had a decreased chance of getting cancer, in particular acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and non- Hodgkin lymphoma. The study demonstrated there were lower rates of cancer in areas where there was higher rates of vaccination against Hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and offered the 4-3-1-3-3 vaccination series (which includes diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, polio, measles/mumps/rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and Hepatitis B immunization).
I get comfort from knowing that vaccinating my child decreases the risk not only of the disease that he is being immunized against, but also cancer. But, aside from that, It is also fascinating to think of the implications of this information for further research. In what way do vaccines stimulate the immune system that would decrease the likelihood of developing cancer? Is there a way we could mimic this response in other ways?