February 26th, 2014
CVS‘ decision to stop selling cigarettes in the United States as of October 1st serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come with our awareness of smoking risks. Still, an estimated 42.1 million people, or 18.1% of all adults, in the US smoke cigarettes. The list of of smoking risks is long and extensive: stroke, coronary heart disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer–the list goes on and on.
According to a new study in the Journal Cancer, there’s one more risk to add to the list of smoking risks. New research suggests that young women who have smoked one pack of cigarettes a day for the last 10 years or more have a 60 percent higher risk for developing the most common type of breast cancer: estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. However, researchers did not find an association between smoking and triple-negative-breast cancer, known to be faster-growing than other breast cancer types.
“The health hazards associated with smoking are numerous and well known,” said research team leader, Dr. Christopher Li, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in a statement. He continued, “this study adds to our knowledge in suggesting that with respect to breast cancer, smoking may increase the risk of the most common molecular sub-type of breast cancer but not influence risk of one of the rarer, more aggressive sub-types.”
The study analyzed smoking risks on 778 women who had estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, 182 women with triple-negative breast cancer, and 938 women who were cancer-free. All women were between the ages of 20 and 44, and were diagnosed between 2004 and 2010. Researchers asked the participants about their smoking history. They obtained information on whether participants have ever smoked, whether they still smoke, how much they have smoked in the past, how much they currently smoke and for how long they have smoked.
Their findings about smoking risks revealed the following:
Women who had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime had a 30% increased risk of breast cancer overall, compared with never smokers (fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime).
More startling though, researchers who work on smoking risks found that young women who were current or recent smokers, and who had been smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for at least a decade, were 60% more likely to develop estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, compared with women who had smoked for fewer years and those who had a history of fewer pack-years. Ladies, add this to the list of smoking risks and make your decision to stop smoking.