News Tuesday August 24, 2010

Breast cancer risk gives women extra reason to quit smoking

A direct link between smoking and breast cancer has been uncovered by a new study this week.

The damaging effects of smoking have been well documented by health experts for many years now. Smoking can lead to a serious condition, primarily the risk of cancer of the lungs, throat, and mouth. A new study however, has revealed that women who smoke are putting themselves at risk of breast cancer as well.

The study team at Taipei Medical University analysed 276 samples of breast cancer tumours, and published their findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They found that nicotine was able to attach itself to many of the receptors in the tumours’ cells compared to normal cells. Normal cells that were exposed to nicotine were also found to display cancer characteristics.

Dr Ilona Linnoila of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute reacted to the findings. Dr Linnoila said that the findings “suggests not only that smoking could be causally related to breast carcinogenesis but also that nicotine could directly contribute to the molecular mechanism of carcinogenesis in addition to indirectly contributing by promoting addiction to smoking.”

Combat smoking

The need for stop-smoking aids and smoking treatments are increasingly important. An estimated 30,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer per year in the UK. Brest cancer is the most common form of the disease in the UK. In 2007, over 45,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

These findings add further importance for smoking cessation schemes. The amount of people who have been able to quit smoking in the UK is actually rising, according to recent NHS figures. This is good news; however there is still a lot to be done to combat smoking. Many feel that these findings could have damaging effects for manufacturers of nicotine gums, and patches.

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