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Cancers of Colon & Rectum linked to Cigarette Smoking

The risks of smoking are well known. Besides causing 160,000 deaths annually from lung, mouth, bladder and other cancers, smoking also increases the risk of death from cancer of the colon or rectum, according to results of a large new study from the American Cancer Society.

As many as 12% of all colorectal cancer deaths in the US may be caused by tobacco smoking.

"Colorectal cancer is not currently considered a smoking-related cancer, but data from the American Cancer Society study and other large studies suggest that colorectal cancer should be considered for classification as a smoking-related cancer".

Among men, current smokers had a 34% higher risk of death from colon cancer than non-smokers did. Women who were current smokers faced a 43% higher risk, according to the report in the December 6th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Although the risk of rectal cancer death was also elevated in smokers,the risk was slightly lower than that for colon cancer. The more years one smoked, the greater the death rate from colorectal cancer, the authors note. The risk of colon cancer death also rose with increasing number of cigarettes smoked daily, younger age when smoking started, and total number of packs smoked over the years.

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