By now, nobody needs any more reasons to quit smoking, but health risks continue to be discovered.
The most recent risk involves women and a specific subtype of breast cancer.
According to a study by Christopher Li, M.D., Ph.D. of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and colleagues, women who have smoked on average a pack a day for at least ten years face a substantially increased risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed subtype of this disease.
Previous studies have linked smoking with breast cancer, but it is believed that this is the first study to identify a specific subtype.
Researches carried out a population-based study involving 778 patients with the most common subtype, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, and 182 patients with the more aggressive but rarer subtype, triple-negative breast cancer.
The women were between the ages of 20 and 44 and had been diagnosed with cancer sometime between 2004 and 2010 in the Seattle area. A control arm was also established with 938 people without cancer.
Smoking linked to most common breast cancer
Their findings indicated that young women who were current or recent smokers and had been smoking a pack a day for at least 10 years faced a 60-percent increased risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. No increased risk was found between smoking and triple-negative breast cancer.
"The health hazards associated with smoking are numerous and well known," said Dr. Li. "This study adds to our knowledge in suggesting that with respect to breast cancer, smoking may increase the risk of the most common molecular subtype of breast cancer but not influence risk of one of the rarer, more aggressive subtypes."
The findings have been reported in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.
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