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Does Smoking Increase Your Risk Of Breast Cancer

Smoking And Drinking By The Numbers

How Does Alcohol Affect Breast Cancer Risk?
  • 20 percent of American adults, nearly 38 million people, are smokers.
  • 70 percent of American smokers, more than 26 million people, also drink.
  • 80 to 95 percent of alcoholics are smokers.
  • 70 percent of alcoholics are heavy smokers .
  • 80 percent of throat and mouth cancer in men and 65 percent of throat and mouth cancer in women are linked to the combination of smoking and drinking.

Reproductive History Estrogen Is The Main Hormone Associated With Breast Cancer Estrogen Affects The Growth Of Breast Cells Experts Believe That It Plays An Important Role In The Growth Of Breast Cancer Cells As Well The Type Of Exposure And How Long Cells Are Exposed To Estrogen Affects The Chances That Breast Cancer Will Develop

Early menarche

The start of menstruation is called menarche. Early menarche is when menstruation starts at an early age . Starting your period early means that your cells are exposed to estrogen and other hormones for a greater amount of time. This increases the risk of breast cancer.

Late menopause

Menopause occurs as the ovaries stop making hormones and the level of hormones in the body drops. This causes a woman to stop menstruating. If you enter menopause at a later age , it means that your cells are exposed to estrogen and other hormones for a greater amount of time. This increases the risk for breast cancer. Likewise, menopause at a younger age decreases the length of time breast tissue is exposed to estrogen and other hormones. Early menopause is linked with a lower risk of breast cancer.

Late pregnancy or no pregnancies

Pregnancy interrupts the exposure of breast cells to circulating estrogen. It also lowers the total number of menstrual cycles a woman has in her lifetime.

Women who have their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 30 have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than women who have at least one full-term pregnancy at an earlier age. Becoming pregnant at an early age reduces breast cancer risk.

The more children a woman has, the greater the protection against breast cancer. Not becoming pregnant at all increases the risk for breast cancer.

Risk Factors You May Be Able To Change

There are some types of risk factors that you can take steps to change. These are most often related to lifestyle and include:

  • Drinking alcohol. Breast cancer risk rises with higher levels of alcohol consumption.
  • Weight. Being overweight or having obesity, particularly after menopause, increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Physical activity. Having a low level of physical activity raises breast cancer risk.
  • Taking hormone medications. Taking some types of combined hormone replacement therapy after menopause or using some types of oral contraceptives may increase breast cancer risk.

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How Does Alcohol Affect The Risk Of Cancer

Researchers have hypothesized multiple ways that alcohol may increase the risk of cancer, including:

Alcoholic beverages may also contain a variety of carcinogenic contaminants that are introduced during fermentation and production, such as nitrosamines, asbestos fibers, phenols, and hydrocarbons.

The mechanisms by which alcohol consumption may decrease the risks of some cancers are not understood and may be indirect.

Overview Of Cervical Cancer

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Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal, cancerous cells begin to develop in the cervix, which is located at the lower end of the uterus.

Cancer cells develop when the DNA of healthy cells becomes mutated and the cells multiply rapidly. As these abnormal cells multiply, they bind together to form tumors, which can only be removed by medical or surgical interventions. If left untreated, the cancer cells can spread , binding to other healthy cells and tissues in the body.

Vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, and pelvic pain are some common symptoms of cervical cancer. However, sometimes, cancerous or precancerous cells can be present in the cervix without any symptoms. Get regular checkups and Pap smears to identify any possible abnormalities.

Between 30 and 50 percent of cancer cases worldwide are preventable. You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes diet and exercise. Another way to reduce your risk of developing cancer is to quit smoking.

The leading cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus , which can be exacerbated by smoking cigarettes.

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Studies In Specific Subgroups

The association between cigarette smoking and breast cancer risk has sometimes been more or less evident in certain subgroups of the studied populations, subgroups defined by factors such as menopausal status, age , whether or when a woman had children, or certain genotypes. Such effect modification might reflect differences in the biological parameters underlying the association or methodological factors such as differences that occur by chance or with the varying prevalence of confounding variables. It is also possible that effect modification reflects differences in the opportunities for exposure to cigarette smoke, such as those that might occur if postmenopausal women were more likely than premenopausal women to have been exposed to cigarette smoke for 40 years or more. Nonetheless, studies that stratify results according to certain factors of interest may help to clarify the association between cigarette smoking and breast cancer risk and may ultimately help to reconcile the disparate findings noted earlier.

Menopausal Status.

Studies of cigarette smoking and breast cancer risk according to menopausal status

Smoking in Very Young Women.

Smoking before or after a First Full-term Pregnancy.

Studies of cigarette smoking before, during, and after a first full-term pregnancy, and breast cancer risk

NAT and Other Genotypes.


Studies of cigarette smoking and breast cancer risk according to NAT2 genotypes

ER and PR Status.

Cervical Cancer And Smoking: What Does The Science Say

Before we explore the link between cervical cancer and smoking, lets look at why smoking tobacco is harmful to your health.

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals. Research has found that at least 250 of those chemicals are known to be hazardous to your health, and nearly 70 are known to cause cancer. Smoking tobacco can cause many kinds of cancer cancer of the kidney, liver, bladder, throat, colon, pancreas, and cervix, to name a few.

Tobacco smoke is a known contributing cause for developing HPV, a potentially high-risk virus that can cause cervical cancer.

When it comes to smoking and cervical cancer, the connection is HPV. Tobacco smoke is a known contributing cause for developing HPV, a potentially high-risk virus that can cause cervical cancer.

Science isnt yet certain why smoking tobacco can lead to HPV, but some possible reasons are:

  • Smoking limits your immune systems ability to fight HPV, which, if left untreated, can develop into cancerous lesions. A weakened immune system also struggles to repair any cellular damage caused by HPV or cancer.
  • When harmful tobacco chemicals enter the body and become absorbed in the bloodstream, they can react with cancerous HPV cells, which can grow or multiply.
  • Cervical mucus can contain high levels of nicotine and other harmful carcinogens found in cigarettes, which can damage cervical cell DNA.

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We All Know How Detrimental Smoking Can Be For Our Health The Point Gets All The More Important As We See Its Relation With Skin Cancer

Smoking will leave you broken on all fronts, including a possibility of getting skin cancer

A team from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute studied nearly 19 thousand people and found that current smokers were significantly more likely to develop a squamous cell carcinoma of the skin than non-smokers. “We don’t yet understand how smoking might increase the risk of SCC, but these findings strongly suggest that by quitting, smokers are lowering their risk of SCC to the same level as someone who has never smoked. This is another good reason to quit.” says Professor Whiteman, a senior member of the team.

While the two main forms — basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma — are rarely deadly, researchers say they are on the rise. Jan Nico Bouwes Bavinck, MD, of the Leiden University Medical Center says that “Everybody realizes that sun exposure is a risk for skin cancer, but almost no one knows that smoking is also an important, and independent, risk factor,” he said. “Smoking is associated with an increasing number of cancers beyond lung cancer, such as bladder, head and neck, cervical, and skin cancer.”

Double Trouble: Tobacco And Alcohol Combine To Elevate Cancer Risk

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For many people, smoking and drinking go together like bacon and eggs or hot dogs at a baseball game. But when it comes to cancer risk, Stephen Lynch, MD, Primary Care and Intake Physician at our Phoenix hospital, compares alcohol and tobacco to a more volatile pairing. “It’s gasoline and matches,” he says. Tobacco and alcohol alone each increase the risk of several cancers. Combined, these two habits significantly increase the risk of cancers in the aero-digestive tractthe lips, mouth, larynx, pharynx, throat, esophagus and colon. “It is well known that smoking and drinking at the same time significantly increases the risk of many cancers,” says Wissam Jaber, MD, Director of Interventional Pulmonary Medicine at our Phoenix hospital.

You are multiplying your risk not only twofold, but many-fold when you do the two together.– Wissam Jaber, MD, Interventional Pulmonologist

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Risk Of Bias In Individual Studies

To determine the risk of bias in the individual studies both authors evaluated the included articles on the risk of selection bias, recall bias, information bias, misclassification bias, as well their assessment of exposure, outcome, follow-up time and the adjustments made. Each outcome was deemed âlow risk of biasâ, âintermediate risk of biasâ or âhigh risk of biasâ. âLow risk of biasâ was given to those articles who were thoroughly discussing their article in relation to the specific bias. âIntermediate risk of biasâ was given to those who were not specifically stating how the bias affected their results, but where we as readers had to evaluate this. âHigh risk of biasâ was given to the articles where we did not feel an evaluation of the bias could be made sufficiently .

Figure S1

Can Psychological Stress Cause Cancer

Although stress can cause a number of physical health problems, the evidence that it can cause cancer is weak. Some studies have indicated a link between various psychological factors and an increased risk of developing cancer, but others have not.

Apparent links between psychological stress and cancer could arise in several ways. For example, people under stress may develop certain behaviors, such as smoking, overeating, or drinking alcohol, which increase a persons risk for cancer. Or someone who has a relative with cancer may have a higher risk for cancer because of a shared inherited risk factor, not because of the stress induced by the family members diagnosis.

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Studies Of Smoking And Breast Cancer In Males

Male carcinoma of the breast is a relatively uncommon disease . The extent to which studies of breast cancer in males are relevant to breast cancer in females is unknown, given the differences that may exist in their etiologies and that certainly exist in the âhormonal milieuâ in which the respective cancers develop . Nevertheless, studies of male breast cancer generally have not shown an association with cigarette smoking , although a small case-control study in Greece recently found indications of an inverse association, a finding that was based on only three cases among current smokers. Studies of smoking in relation to testosterone levels generally show no clear association among women , but in men there is some evidence for a positive association between cigarette smoking and testosterone levels and also between smoking and levels of estradiol . Free, but not bound, serum testosterone levels have been independently positively associated with breast cancer risk in women .

A Note On The Analysis Of Cigarette Smoking

Reducing your risk of breast cancer

Qualitative measures of smoking have been used in most previous studies of breast cancer risk. Quantitative measures of smoking frequency , duration , the product of smoking frequency and duration , latency , and recency have been used more frequently in recent years, although use of these measures remains sporadic, and rarely have most or all of these measures been examined in the same study. The fact that the various smoking measures are correlated with each other complicates the differentiation of their independent effects. For example, smokers of high intensity tend to be smokers of long duration, and the latter tend also to have commenced smoking at an early age. In such instances, to examine their independent effects, one can attempt to mutually adjust for various smoking measures in multivariate models or examine a particular smoking measure over strata of another. Pack-years, a potentially useful combined measure of smoking intensity and duration, has conceptual limitations, because 20 pack-years can accrue by smoking two packets of cigarettes per day for 10 years, for example, or by smoking a half of a packet of cigarettes per day for 40 years.

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Studies Of Cigarette Smoking And Breast Density

Mammographic density refers to the relative amount and configuration of breast tissue as it appears on a mammogram, with fat appearing dark , and epithelial and stromal tissues appearing light . Mammographic density can be classified according to Wolfe patterns , the percentage of dense area in the breast, or the degree of density in dense areas of the breast . Studies have consistently shown that women with a large proportion of dense tissue in the breast are at severalfold greater risk of breast cancer than women with a relatively small proportion of dense breast tissue . Two studies of cigarette smoking and mammographically defined breast density have been conducted, including a case-control study of high risk parenchymal patterns nested within the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer cohort study and a cross-sectional analysis of percentage of breast density in a cohort of family members of women with breast cancer . Both of these studies showed lower measures of breast density in current smokers than in nonsmokers. Because exposure to estrogen has been associated positively with breast density, the results of these studies are consistent with an antiestrogenic effect of cigarette smoking.

How Does The Body Respond During Stress

The body responds to physical, mental, or emotional pressure by releasing stress hormones that increase blood pressure, speed heart rate, and raise blood sugar levels. These changes help a person act with greater strength and speed to escape a perceived threat.

Research has shown that people who experience intense and long-term stress can have digestive problems, fertility problems, urinary problems, and a weakened immune system. People who experience chronic stress are also more prone to viral infections such as the flu or common cold and to have headaches, sleep trouble, depression, and anxiety.

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Does The Type Of Alcohol Matter

Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks, whether they are beers, wines, liquors , or other drinks. Alcoholic drinks contain different percentages of ethanol, but in general, a standard size drink of any type 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor contains about the same amount of ethanol . Of course, larger or stronger drinks can contain more ethanol than this.

Overall, the amount of alcohol someone drinks over time, not the type of alcoholic beverage, seems to be the most important factor in raising cancer risk. Most evidence suggests that it is the ethanol that increases the risk, not other things in the drink.

Cancers Linked To Alcohol Use

Alcohol Increases Breast Cancer Risk

Alcohol use has been linked with cancers of the:

Alcohol probably also increases the risk of cancer of the stomach, and might affect the risk of some other cancers as well.

For each of these cancers, the more alcohol you drink, the higher your cancer risk. But for some types of cancer, most notably breast cancer, consuming even small amounts of alcohol can increase risk.

Cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and esophagus: Alcohol use clearly raises the risk of these cancers. Drinking and smoking together raises the risk of these cancers many times more than drinking or smoking alone. This might be because alcohol can help harmful chemicals in tobacco get inside the cells that line the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Alcohol may also limit how these cells can repair damage to their DNA caused by the chemicals in tobacco.

Liver cancer: Long-term alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer. Regular, heavy alcohol use can damage the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring, which might be why it raises the risk of liver cancer.

Colon and rectal cancer: Alcohol use has been linked with a higher risk of cancers of the colon and rectum. The evidence for this is generally stronger in men than in women, but studies have found the link in both sexes.

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