Study links smoking with most male cancer deaths

January 21, 2009

The association between tobacco smoke and cancer deaths — beyond lung cancer deaths — has been strengthened by a recent study from a UC Davis researcher, suggesting that increased tobacco control efforts could save more lives than previously estimated.

The epidemiological analysis, published online in BMC Cancer, linked smoking to more than 70 percent of the cancer death burden among Massachusetts men in 2003. This percentage is much higher than the previous estimate of 34 percent in 2001.

"This study provides support for the growing understanding among researchers that smoking is a cause of many more cancer deaths besides lung cancer," said lead author Bruce Leistikow, a UC Davis associate adjunct professor of public health sciences. "The full impacts of tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, have been overlooked in the rush to examine such potential cancer factors as diet and environmental contaminants. As it turns out, much of the answer was probably smoking all along."

Leistikow used National Center for Health Statistics data to compare death rates from lung cancer to death rates from all other cancers among Massachusetts males. The assessment revealed that the two rates changed in tandem year-by-year from 1979 to 2003, with the strongest association among males aged 30-to-74 years.

Smoking is a known cause of most lung cancers, and the study authors concluded that the very close relationship over twenty-five years between lung and other cancer death rates suggests a single cause for both: tobacco smoke.

Leistikow, whose research is dedicated to uncovering the causes of premature mortality, said, "The fact that lung and non-lung cancer death rates are almost perfectly associated means that smokers and nonsmokers alike should do what they can to avoid tobacco smoke. It also suggests that increased attention should be paid to smoking prevention in health care reforms and health promotion campaigns."

The current study can be downloaded at www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/8/341 .

Source: University of California - Davis

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3 comments

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SgntZim
not rated yet Jan 21, 2009
So tell us something we don't know,LoL. That's from a smoker.
E_L_Earnhardt
1 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2009
HOW? The old "saw": "Blame The Patient", does not excuse total failure to discover the MECHANISM!I suspect "electron acceleration and spin". Trace it to "cause and effect" and then explain "non-smoker" and "No Exposure" deaths or shut up!
kevinf
not rated yet Aug 31, 2009
Pretty good article if you ask me. With over 4000 known chemicals in cigarettes the "mechanism" you seek could be any one of 4000^4000 combinations of chemicals and that doesn't even cover other combinations that could be present from elsewhere that complete the deed. You can wait for the exact mechanism to be discovered but that makes about as much sense as drinking and driving since there isn't a defined mechanism that states that it will kill you for certain.

The article is also newsworthy because although everyone knows that smoking elevates risk, the risk has been largely underestimated and primarily focuses on lung and oral cancer.

As for blame the patient...well, if you break your leg while skateboarding, who else is there to blame?

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