Owning a cat or dog is great for giving you companionship, but your pet could also help you fight against cancer.

A study carried out jointly by the University of California and Stanford University found having a pet could cut the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, by nearly one third. The researchers say having pets around the home may boost your immune system, helping protect against cancer.

The evidence for keeping animals for health reasons is now so strong. Dogs have been shown to assist recovery from heart attacks, and in the development of children with learning difficulties.