Study shows that smoking is linked to more cancer types than previously thought
posted on: Jun 24, 2008
The study, led by Dr David Batty and published in Annals of Oncology, examined the relation between cigarette smoking and the main cancers among more than 17 000 London-based male civil servants, and found cigarette smoking to be associated with some cancers with previously unknown links to tobacco use.
As well as confirming known relationships between smoking and cancers of the lung, stomach, pancreas, bladder, upper aero-digestive (including oesophagus), and liver, and myeloid leukaemia, smoking was also found to be associated with death from colon, rectum and prostate cancers and lymphatic leukaemia. In some cases, this was true for ex-smokers as well as current smokers, and remained after accounting for any differences in age, social background, existing disease, and other health related measures. There was no apparent relationship between smoking and mortality from lymphoma or carcinoma of the brain .
Dr Batty said: "What this study shows is that smoking is linked to more kinds of cancer than previously thought. It's important to remember that cancer is not a single disease and that the various kinds of cancers are different illnesses so you couldn't necessarily assume that smoking was linked to them in the same way. What's unclear is how exactly smoking causes these cancers."
G. D. Batty, M. Kivimaki, L. Gray, G. Davey Smith, M. G. Marmot, and M. J. Shipley. Cigarette smoking and site-specific cancer mortality: testing uncertain associations using extended follow-up of the original Whitehall study. Annals of Oncology 2008 19: 996-1002.