Smoking Linked to Colon Cancer -- and Women Are at Greater Risk, New Study Says

by Amanda MacMillan


Eric McNattEric McNatt Attention "social" smokers (or those of you who still puff regularly): Here's another reason to kick your habit to the curb, stat. Cigarette smoking increases the risk for developing colon cancer, according to a study published yesterday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention -- and women seem be at greater risk than men, even if they smoke less, overall.

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When scientists at the University of Tromso in Norway tracked more than 600,000 people for an average of 14 years, they found that female smokers had a 19 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer compared with those who never smoked. Male smokers, on the other hand, had only an 8 precent increased risk versus males who didn't. Furthermore, women who started smoking when they were 16 or younger, and women who had smoked for 40 years or more, had a substantially increased risk, by about 50 percent.

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"The finding that women who smoke even a moderate number of cigarettes daily have an increased risk for colon cancer will account for a substantial number of new cases, because colon cancer is such a common disease," say the authors. A "causal relationship" between smoking and colorectal cancer has recently been established by the World Health Organization, they point out, but unfortunately, the link is not yet common knowledge -- neither among doctors or the general public.

Even if (you think) your lungs and heart are healthy, this study shows, you could still be putting your health at risk, big time, by lighting up even just once in a while. And if that's still not enough incentive for you to just say no, we've got 10 solid reasons to quit smoking right now. Quit today, girl. You've got this!

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