Smoking sharply increases risk of certain cancers of the immune system and bone marrow

August 10, 2012
Smoking sharply increases risk of certain cancers of the immune system and bone marrow

(Medical Xpress) -- Women who smoke increase their risk of developing certain cancers of the blood, immune system, and bone marrow new research shows today (Friday).

The study showed that the risks of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and some bone marrow cancers were doubled in women who smoked about 20 cigarettes a day. The risks of other types of blood cancer were also increased among smokers, but to a lesser extent.

The large study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, looked at 1.3 million middle-aged women from the Million Women study, funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council.

Over a 10 year period 9000 women in the study developed leukaemia, a cancer of the or of the bone marrow. Over the 10 years, six in every 1000 women who never smoked developed one of these cancers, whereas the number was almost eight in every 1000 for smokers.

The results add to existing evidence on the impact has on Hodgkin lymphoma, and sheds new light on the link with other types of lymphoma, leukaemia and cancers of the .

Professor Valerie Beral, one of the study authors and director of the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, said: “These results highlight yet again how important smoking is as a cause of cancer.

“Smoking raises the risk of many types of cancer, not just lung cancer, and also the risk of heart attack and stroke, which many people may not be aware of.”

A recent survey by Cancer Research UK of the UK public showed there is a shocking level of ignorance about smoking and cancer. While most people know that smoking causes cancers of the lung, mouth and throat, few are aware that tobacco is also linked to cancers of the liver, pancreas, bowel, kidney, cervix, and bladder.

This new research shows the significant impact smoking can have on blood cancers as well.

Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Smoking is by far the most important preventable risk factor for cancer in the UK – it’s responsible for nearly a fifth of all new cancer cases and causes more than a quarter of all deaths from cancer in the UK.

“It’s never too late to stop smoking; you will reduce your risk of developing lung cancer and other serious diseases. Your GP or local pharmacy can advise you where to find your local NHS support services.”

Jean King, Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said: “This is yet another stark reminder of the dangers of smoking. There are only two options to eliminate the illnesses caused by smoking – and they are to help smokers quit and to stop young people from starting to smoke in the first place.

“Reducing the appeal of cigarettes is essential to prevent young people from starting to smoke and so plain packaging of tobacco is the vital next step we need to make. Replacing the slickly designed, brightly coloured cigarette packaging with packs of standard size, shape and colour will give millions of children one less reason to start smoking.

“With the consultation on the future of tobacco packaging closing today, we urge the government to respond as quickly as possible to stop another generation from becoming addicted to a product that will kill half of all long term smokers.”

Explore further: People ignorant of cancers caused by smoking

More information: Kroll ME et al., Alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking and subtypes of haematological malignancy in the UK Million Women Study, British Journal of Cancer, (2012). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2012.333

Related Stories

People ignorant of cancers caused by smoking

July 2, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Cancer Research UK today reveals the shocking level of ignorance about smoking and cancer among the UK public in a comprehensive new survey of more than 4000 people.

Most regret ever starting smoking

July 23, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The majority of smokers and ex-smokers – 85 per cent – regret ever starting the potentially deadly habit in the first place, show new data from Cancer Research UK published today.

Lung cancer cases keep going up in UK women

April 13, 2012
(Phys.org) -- Lung cancer cases continue to rise in women with more than 18,000 UK women diagnosed with the disease in 2009 according to the latest Cancer Research UK figures released today (Friday).

Plain packaging removes cigarettes' appeal

September 9, 2011
Removing branding and wrapping cigarettes in plain packaging helps remove the appeal of smoking according to new a Cancer Research UK-funded study published in Tobacco Control.

Early morning smokers have increased risk of lung and head and neck cancers

August 8, 2011
Two new studies have found that smokers who tend to take their first cigarette soon after they wake up in the morning may have a higher risk of developing lung and head and neck cancers than smokers who refrain from lighting ...

Recommended for you

One to 10 mutations are needed to drive cancer, scientists find

October 19, 2017
For the first time, scientists have provided unbiased estimates of the number of mutations needed for cancers to develop, in a study of more than 7,500 tumours across 29 cancer types. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger ...

Gene circuit switches on inside cancer cells, triggers immune attack

October 19, 2017
Researchers at MIT have developed a synthetic gene circuit that triggers the body's immune system to attack cancers when it detects signs of the disease.

Researchers target undruggable cancers

October 19, 2017
A new approach to targeting key cancer-linked proteins, thought to be 'undruggable," has been discovered through an alliance between industry and academia.

Mutant gene found to fuel cancer-promoting effects of inflammation

October 19, 2017
A human gene called p53, which is commonly known as the "guardian of the genome," is widely known to combat the formation and progression of tumors. Yet, mutant forms of p53 have been linked to more cases of human cancer ...

New study reveals breast cancer cells recycle their own ammonia waste as fuel

October 19, 2017
Breast cancer cells recycle ammonia, a waste byproduct of cell metabolism, and use it as a source of nitrogen to fuel tumor growth, report scientists from Harvard Medical School in the journal Science.

Breast cancer researchers find bacteria imbalance link

October 19, 2017
Researchers in the United States have uncovered differences in the bacterial composition of breast tissue of healthy women versus those with breast cancer.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sebas
not rated yet Aug 13, 2012
To be honest, I think it's quite amazing that you can smoke 20 cigarettes a day and only double the chance of Hodgkins lymphoma and bone marrow cancer.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.