Increased Risk Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Women Due To Smoking

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Aside from being a risk factor to cardiac and lung diseases, smoking has been also linked to several types of malignancy, (i.e. cancers of the lung, larynx, mouth, pancreas, bladder, kidney, cervix, stomach and AML).   Nonetheless, many of the world’s population still indulged in this vice, especially in developing countries. In 2000, about 1.22 billion people are deemed to be smokers, and about 5.4 million deaths were tobacco-attributed in 2004. According to the researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center, the risk of regular female smokers to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the skin has been tripled. A slight elevation in risk among regular male smokers had also been discovered, but this was statistically insignificant. This study can be found in Cancer Causes and Control.

In the research, Dana E. Rollison and her colleagues included 380 patients with skin cancer and 315 healthy controls (without current or past skin cancers). Basal cell carcinoma was confirmed to have basal cell carcinoma, while 165 of them had squamous cell carcinoma (both types of skin cancers). The 695 participants were asked to accomplish questionnaires, containing questions about their present and past smoking status.

After the researchers made some adjustments for a number of factors that can have effect on their results (like age, sex and other skin cancers), it was revealed that in both sexes, smoking did not have any effect on basal cell carcinoma (BCC) risk, while, being a smoker led to an increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SSC) in both sexes. Moreover, in both males and females, risk is tantamount to the numbers smoked per day and packs smoked per year (being a heavy smoker). Also, men who smoked at least 20 packs per year had a slight (statistically insignificant) probability of having BBC and SCC. On the other hand, women who consumed 20 packs per year had no elevated risk for BBC, but with three-fold increased likelihood to SCC development.

In conclusion, the authors said, “Cigarette smoking is more strongly associated with SCC than BCC, particularly among women”. They further considered the higher percentage of males in total developing skin cancer than females is due, most likely, to sun exposure rather than smoking. However, the reason is not yet very clear, but it may because of the sensitivity of men’s skin to sunlight or the women are just extra careful in suncream application.




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