Cats and dogs reduce risk of cancer
Pets are very important to many people with cats and dogs often talked about as members of the familly.
This research shows that people that own pets such as cats and dogs are less likely to develop the cancer non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NFL).
The research seems to back up ideas that claim our obsession with cleanliness is leading to less exposure to materials that help us build up and strengthen our immune systems which offers protection against some forms of cancer.
Regular exposure to a cat or a dog can cut the chances of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), scientists have found.
A cancer of the immune system, the disease affects around 10,000 people in Britain every year.
The researchers who carried out the study believe that the presence of pets around the home could boost the immune system, offering protection against the cancer.
The cancer affects the lymphatic system, the process by which infection-fighting white blood cells are carried round the body.
It is more common in people whose immune system is weak, and one theory is that exposure to allergens could help protect against the condition.
Scientists at the Stanford University, in California, and the University of California, San Francisco, analysed more than 4,000 patients, almost half of whom had NHL.
The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, shows that those who owned animals were almost 30 per cent less likely to develop the cancer than those without pets.
The longer they had kept pets, the greater their protection against the disease appeared to be, according to the study.