Smoking, second-hand smoke linked to breast cancer

April 24th, 2009 - 11:09 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, April 24 (IANS) Researchers say they have found clinching scientific evidence to link active smoking and second-hand smoke to breast cancer.
In reporting their findings here Thursday, an international panel of researchers said they have “persuasive evidence” of the risk that smoking and second-hand smoke have for breast cancer.

“Until recently, evidence about the link between breast cancer and tobacco smoke, although voluminous, was inconclusive. But the panel’s careful analysis of all available evidence, particularly recent evidence, led us to conclude that there is persuasive evidence of risk,” said panel chairman Neil Collishaw.

“An estimated 80 to 90 percent of women have been exposed to tobacco smoke in adolescence and adulthood. Those women face an increased risk of breast cancer because of that exposure,” he said.

A statement on the panel’s findings said there have been many studies over the years on the relationship between cigarette smoke and breast cancer in women.

It said the panel reviewed all available evidence, including important recent evidence, and concluded that there was a risk even non-smoking young women face through passive exposure to cigarette smoke.

“The panel also concluded that the relationship of active smoking to both pre and post-menopausal breast cancer is consistent with causality, but there is not yet enough evidence to draw a conclusion about the nature of the relationship between exposure to second-hand smoke and breast cancer for older, post-menopausal women,” the statement said.

Anthony Miller, who is one of the panelists, said: “It is important from a public health perspective to get the message out to the public, and young women in particular, that available evidence shows that both active smoking and exposure to passive smoke increase the risk of breast cancer.”

The international panel was convened by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit of the University of Toronto and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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