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Colon Cancer Risk Increases With Smoking

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 10:48 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Colorectal Cancer, JAMA, Smoking, Tobacco Related Disease, Dangerous Products, Cigarettes, Toxic Substances

Colorectal cancer risk increases with smoking, Italian researchers find.



     IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Diagram of the stomach, colon and rectum/ author: William Crochot


As if we needed one more reason not to smoke.

Italian researchers report that the risk of colorectal cancer is higher among smokers as is the risk of dying from the disease. 

This research comes from the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy.

They find that the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases by about 18 percent and the risk of dying about 25 percent. The results are published in the December 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical /Association.  

“Smoking is significantly associated with colorectal cancer incidence and mortality,” says the study’s lead author, Edoardo Botteri to the Washington Post. 

Tobacco is already considered responsible for about five million deaths a year. Yet there are about one billion smokers worldwide.

A recent report from the World Health Organization finds that as U.S. tobacco companies export cigarettes to make up for diminished U.S. sales, that they too are exporting an increase in the rate of cancers. 

People should be aware that smoking increases the risk of cancer not only in organs where there is direct contact with tobacco-related carcinogens, such as lung, oropharynx, larynx and upper digestive tract, but also in organs where exposure to tobacco degradation products is indirect, such as the pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum," explained Botteri.

However the connection to colorectal cancers was not considered as conclusive as lung cancer for example.  

Botteri and his colleagues analyzed data from 106 studies, both large and small. When they looked at the pooled risk of colorectal cancer, they found smoking was linked to an 18 percent rise in the odds of getting colorectal cancer. The impact of smoking largely began about 10 years after starting and increased to full significance after 30 years.

But smokers are reminded that you may not have to wait that long.  Initial screening guidelines for colorectal cancer may have to be lowered for smokers, researchers conclude.

Besides smoking, a history of polyps increases your risk of developing colorectal cancer, even if they are completely removed.

More than 90 percent of those diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over the age of 50.

A Canadian study issued this week finds that colonoscopy is an effective procedure used to combat colorectal cancer, but it may not be quite as effective on detecting polyps on the right side as the left side of the colon.  #

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