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Women who smoke may benefit from breast cancer testing. For the first time, a new study has shown that tobacco use can increase the risk of this cancer, which affects more women than any other form of the disease.
It is well established that cigarette smoke contains a number of carcinogens that increase the risk of lung, throat and stomach cancer. However, there was previously little evidence to suggest that tobacco use also increases the risk of tumor growth beyond parts of the body that are directly affected by smoke.
Yet, the researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University found that smoking before menopause significantly increases an individual's risk of developing breast cancer. They arrived at these results after following 111,140 women for more than 30 years.
Not surprisingly, the results were strongest in women who smoked the most and began their habit early in life. Also, those who smoked prior to giving birth were at an elevated risk.
"Smoking before menopause was positively associated with breast cancer risk," the researchers wrote in their report. "The results support an independent and additive effect from various smoking measures on breast carcinogenesis."
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