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Smoking linked to half of all bladder cancers in women

Smoking linked to half of all bladder cancers in women Related to higher concentration of carcinogens in cigarettes

New research has implicated smoking as a cause of over half of all bladder cancer cases in women - higher than had previously been thought.

Before this study, smoking had been linked to only 20 to 30 percent of all cases in women, so the new data represents a considerable increase.

Using data from nearly half a million participants in the large-scale NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, researchers from the US National Cancer Institute found that the risk to women smokers of developing bladder cancer was the same as in men.

This increase may be related to the fact that women are now just as likely to smoke as men, even though there has been an overall decline in smoking rates in the population as a whole.

Study author Neal Freedman implicated the ingredients in modern cigarettes: "Stronger association between smoking and bladder cancer is possibly due to changes in cigarette composition or smoking habits over the years."

Although there have been reductions in the concentrations of tar and nicotine in cigarette smoke, there have been apparent increases in the concentration of certain carcinogens associated with bladder cancer.

In the current study, former smokers were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as never smokers, and current smokers were four times more likely than those who never smoked.

The good news is that quitting smoking will make a difference to cancer risk, with participants who had been smoke-free for at least 10 years having a lower incidence of bladder cancer compared to those who quit for shorter periods of time or who still smoked.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This article was published on Wed 17 August 2011

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