Health Blogs

Smoking And Breast Cancer

Did you know in our country 160,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and the numbers are rising everyday? Approximately, 17-20% of all women cancers in India are attributable to tobacco use. Tobacco smoking is among the leading preventable or modifiable risk factors for cancers in general, including breast cancer.

 

Experimental studies have shown that tobacco smoke contains potential human breast carcinogens (substances promoting cancer), and the higher prevalence of smoking-specific gene mutations found in the breast tissue of women who smoke as compared with nonsmokers. These studies support the biological plausibility of a positive correlation between tobacco smoking and breast cancer risk. UK-based study found that a history of cigarette smoking increased the risk of breast cancer and the risk increased with the number of cigarettes smoked per day. The risk of the disease climbs with each year of smoking up to 10 years. Passive (second-hand) smoking, on the other hand, is also positively associated with breast cancer especially among younger, premenopausal women.

Smoking negatively impacts health of patient’s undergoing treatment for breast cancer in multi-factorial ways. Smoking cessation is advised to all patients at the outset but if they still continue to smoke, it might hamper treatment decisions and aggravate adverse effects related to cancer treatment. Breast reconstruction surgery and complex oncoplastic procedures might not be offered to these patients, as smoking affects skin quality and blood circulation. Eventually, smokers develop a weak heart, blood circulation and lungs; and chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or radiotherapy given to such patients can cause serious implications. A pooled analysis of data from about 10,000 breast cancer survivors, found that smoking increased the risk of breast cancer recurrence (a return of breast cancer), breast cancer-specific mortality (death from breast cancer) and overall mortality (death from any cause, not necessarily breast cancer).

There are certain risks and genes that we are born with, which is out of our control; however smoking tobacco is something which is a preventable risk. So, atleast avoid reckless driving while passing through a blind turn on the road.