Skin Cancer Linked to Tobacco Use
Skin cancer may be yet another byproduct of smoking, a new study suggests. According to HealthDay News, researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida found that women who have smoked at least 20 years are twice as likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer as non-smoking women.
Scientists compared 383 patients with skin cancer to 315 without the disease, asking both groups how much they smoked and when they had begun the habit. Controlling for other skin cancer risks, the team found that the more people smoked, the more likely they were to develop skin cancer.
Skin cancer expert Dr. Jeffrey Dover of the Yale University Medical School told HealthDay the relationship was hardly surprising.
“We know cigarette smoke contains carcinogens,” he said, referencing the way smokers are “blowing the smoke and ash around their faces all day.”
The results do not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, however. Exposure to the sun is still the prime reason for developing the disease, the news outlet said.
The risk of skin cancer is also higher for men who smoke, though not nearly as high as the risk in women. Lead author Dana Rollison told HealthDay her team was unsure why the differences between the sexes exist, but suggested they may have something to do with the female hormone estrogen.