Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Smoking linked with increased risk of most common type of breast cancer

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Young women who smoke and have been smoking a pack a day for a decade or more have a significantly increased risk of developing the most common type of breast cancer. That is the finding of an analysis published in the journal Cancer.

The majority of recent studies evaluating the relationship between smoking and breast cancer risk among young women have found that smoking is linked with an increased risk; however, few studies have evaluated risks according to different subtypes of breast cancer.

The researchers found that young women who were current or recent smokers and had been smoking a pack a day for at least 10 years had a 60 percent increased risk of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. In contrast, smoking was not related to a woman's risk of triple-negative breast cancer. Estrogen receptor positive breast cancer is the most common subtype of breast cancer, while triple-negative breast cancer is less common but tends to be more aggressive.

"The health hazards associated with smoking are numerous and well known," says researcher Christopher Li, MD, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. "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."

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