Healthcare Tips

Smoking Might Increase Breast Cancer Risk, Study Finds

March 17, 2017

Women who smoke might be at a greater risk of developing breast cancer, according to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, CNN reports. However, the added risk is minimal unless women became smokers early in life, the study found. According to findings, regular smokers for any amount of time have a 6% higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not smoke. However, women who smoked one pack of cigarettes daily for at least 30 years had a 28% higher risk. The study examined 30 years of data on more than 110,000 women taking part in a government-funded Nurses' Health Study. Study authors found 8,772 cases of invasive breast cancer over that time period.

Lead author Karin Michels, an associate professor of cancer epidemiology and ob-gyn at Harvard Medical School, noted that previous studies did not find "strong associations or any association" between cigarette smoking and breast cancer, but she said that might have been because they canceled each other out. Cigarette smoke is a potential carcinogen, but smoking also inhibits estrogen levels, which drive the growth of breast cancer.

Debra Monticciolo, a professor of radiology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, said that women should not ignore all of the health risks associated with smoking because of the findings. She said, "I can't think of anything good to come from smoking" (Gardner, CNN, 1/24).

FDA Suggests Possible Link Between Breast Implants, Cancer

FDA on Wednesday cautioned that saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants could be linked to a type of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, the Washington Post reports. William Maisel, FDA's chief scientist, said that the agency thinks that women with breast implants might have "a small increased risk of developing ALCL" (Stein, Washington Post, 1/27).

According to AP/USA Today, FDA has identified just 60 cases of ALCL among the five million to 10 million women worldwide who have breast implants (AP/USA Today, 1/26). FDA's announcement comes after the agency reviewed scientific findings published between January 1997 and May 2010, which found 34 cases suggesting the link, and "information from other international regulators, scientists and breast implant manufacturers" that indicated another 26 relevant cases.

FDA urged physicians to report immediately any additional cases of ALCL in women with implants. It also said that women with implants who develop swelling or pain around an implant should seek immediate medical care (Washington Post, 1/27).

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