Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Breast Cancer and Tobacco, the Link!

The list of cancers associated with smoking is a long one: Lung, esophagus, throat and larynx, as well as kidney, bladder, pancreas and stomach. Now add Breast Cancer to the toll.
Until now, studies had not been able to definitively link smoking to breast cancer because of tobacco's double-edged effect. While its carcinogens can trigger tumors to grow in breast tissue, its ability to block estrogen, a hormone that promotes breast cancer, may actually work to suppress malignancies. The latest research clarifies the risk, finding that per menopausal women who smoke had a higher risk of breast cancer than women who did not, but after menopause, women who puffed cigarettes were slightly less likely to develop the disease than nonsmokers. The theory is that postmenopausal women have low levels of circulating estrogen and may benefit further from tobacco's antiestrogenic effects.
Overall, the added Breast Cancer risk from regular smoking at any age was 6%, but that figure shot up for heavy smokers. Women who lit up before age 18 and smoke for three decades or longer had a 25% greater chance of the disease than nonsmokers.
Given the small window of time during which smoking may protect against cancer in the breast, it is a good idea to kick the habit now.
This article was in the February 7, 2011 Time Magazine in the Lab Report section by Alice Park.
If you happen to be a smoker, I know it is hard to quit smoking but for your health please quit.
Talk with you doctor to find out what medications may be available to help you quit.
My father developed throat cancer and 3 years later died from lung cancer for smoking.
My sister has developed bladder cancer which may be related to her many years of smoking.
Breast cancer does not happen just to smokers but please do anything you can do to reduce your chances of getting it.
To your health