Q & A Library
Does Smoking Cause Breast Cancer?
What are the statistics of breast cancer in women who smoke? I am 30 years old.
Answer (Published 10/4/2005)
Smoking is not considered a major risk for breast cancer, and overall, it may present no risk at all. But some studies have suggested that smoking may increase the risk of breast cancer in certain women. A study published in the November 18, 2002, issue of the British Journal of Cancer analyzed data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58,515 women with breast cancer and 95,067 women who did not have breast cancer. It concluded that smoking had little or no independent effect on the incidence of breast cancer. But there appear to be some exceptions:
Whatever your personal risk of breast cancer, please bear in mind that lung cancer will kill 68,510 American women this year, more than breast and ovarian cancer combined. You also should know that almost 90 percent of all lung cancer that occurs in women is caused by smoking, and that women are 1.5 times more likely to develop lung cancer than men are. And don't forget that smoking also increases your risk of heart disease, the number-one killer of women.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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