Colon Cancer Risk Increases With Smoking

In addition to the many, many negative health effects linked to <"">cigarette smoking, an emerging study has found stronger evidence linking cigarette smoking to colorectal cancer, said Science Daily.

“This provides one more reason not to smoke, or to quit as soon as possible,” said senior author Michael J. Thun, M.D., M.S., vice president emeritus, epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society, quoted Science Daily. “Colorectal cancer should be added to the list of cancers caused by smoking.” Study findings are published in the December issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Dr. Thun and his team tested the link between long-term smoking and colorectal cancer, after adjustments were made for a variety of other factors generally connected to the link, such as screening, said Science Daily. The team followed about 185,000 people from 50 to 74 years of age from 1992 through 2005, said Science Daily; participants provided medical information and information on behaviors.

Those who smoked at least 40 years and who did not quit smoking before the age of forty experienced 30-to-50 percent-increased chances of developing colon or rectal cancer during the follow-up, said Science Daily. Dr, Thun said the analysis adjusted for 13 other possible risk factors. Researchers found nearly 2,000 cases—1,962 in all—of invasive colorectal cancer after 13 years, said Science Daily.

According to Thun, this study is the fist to include controls for screening and other colorectal cancer screens, citing, for example, drinking alcohol, consuming red or processed meat, and inactivity, explained Science Daily. “These findings contributed to the evidence recently reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in October of this year,” Thun said, quoted Science Daily. “IARC upgraded the evidence that smoking causes colorectal cancer from ‘limited’ to ‘sufficient,'” Thun added. This reclassification raises the number of organ areas “casually related” to cigarette smoking to 17 and includes: “Cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, nasopharynx, nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, larynx, lung, esophagus (both squamous cell and adenocarcinoma), stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney (both renal cell and transitional cell carcinoma), urinary bladder and lower urinary tract, uterine, cervix, and myeloid leukemia,” said Science Daily.

We recently wrote that research concluded that just one cigarette can adversely affect young adults, citing Science Daily previously. Just one cigarette can increase arterial stiffness in people 18 to 30 years of age by a surprising 25 percent, according to Science Daily. Stiff—or rigid—arteries can lead to cardiac issues because vessel resistance is increased and the heart has to work harder, which can lead to heart disease and stroke risk.

There are about 443,000 deaths and $100 billion spent in healthcare costs annually in the United States linked to tobacco use. A prior Associated Press (AP) report noted that over 126 million nonsmokers in this country are exposed to tobacco smoke on an ongoing basis and, in 2006, the Surgeon General announced that “overwhelming scientific evidence” was associated with tens of thousands of fatalities from cardiac disease, lung cancer, and other deadly diseases due to second- and third-hand smoke.

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