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Smoking Boosts Risk for Head, Neck Cancers

Habit is even more dangerous for women than men, major study finds

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Current and past smokers are at significantly increased risk for head and neck cancers such as cancers of the larynx (voice box), nasal passages/nose, oral cavity, and throat, says a U.S. National Cancer Institute study that looked at data collected on more than 476,000 men and women between 1995 and 2000.

The analysis revealed that smoking increased head and neck cancer in both women and men, but appeared to have a greater impact in women. Smoking was attributed to 75 percent of such cancers in women, compared to 45 percent of such cancers in men, the study said.

"Incidence rates of head and neck cancer were higher in men than in women in all categories examined, but smoking was associated with a larger relative increase in head and neck cancer risk in women than in men," the researchers concluded.

The study is published in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Cancer.

In order to lower head and neck cancer rates, public health efforts should continue to try to eliminate smoking, the study authors said.

Each year, more than 500,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with head and neck cancers. Overall, men are more than three times more likely than women to be diagnosed with such cancers and almost twice as likely to die from them, according to the NCI.

More information

There's more on links between smoking and cancer at the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, Aug. 27, 2007

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