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Smoking Ups Colon Cancer Risk
Date:12/16/2008

Most significant effect was seen after 30 years of smoking, researchers say,,,,

TUESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Adding to the long list of cancers caused by smoking, Italian researchers report that the risk of getting colorectal cancer is higher in smokers, as is the risk of dying from that disease.

Smoking increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer by about 18 percent and the risk of dying from the malignancy by about 25 percent, according to the study, which was published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Smoking is significantly associated with colorectal cancer incidence and mortality," said the study's lead author, Edoardo Botteri, a biostatistician in the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy.

"People should be aware that smoking increases the risk of cancer not only in organs where there is direct contact with tobacco-related carcinogens, such as lung, oropharynx, larynx and upper digestive tract, but also in organs where exposure to tobacco degradation products is indirect, such as the pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum," explained Botteri.

Tobacco is responsible for about 100 million deaths during the past century and more than 5 million deaths a year, according to background information in the study. Yet, the study pointed out, there are still more than 1 billion smokers worldwide. Eighty percent of lung cancers are directly attributable to smoking, reports the study.

However, the connection to colorectal cancer isn't as conclusive.

To assess whether or not there is, in fact, a link, Botteri and his colleagues analyzed data from 106 observational studies that varied from small trials containing just several hundred participants to very large trials with more than 1 million participants.

When the researchers looked at the poole
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