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Smoking poses bigger cancer threat to women

Published on 01/05/2013

Female smokers are more at risk of cancer than their male counterparts, according to a study from Norway.

Evidence suggests women are more vulnerable to smoking than men

The research, carried out by the University of Tromsø, found that out of 600,000 patients the risk of bowel cancer linked to smoking was more than doubled for women compared to men.

The findings were reported in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention articles and suggest that women may be biologically more susceptible to the health dangers associated with smoking and tobacco.

Inger Torhild Gram, professor in the Department of Community Medicine at the University of Tromsø in Norway, said: "Globally, during the last 50 years, the number of new colon cancer cases per year has exploded for both men and women. Our study is the first that shows women who smoke less than men still get more colon cancer."

The study examined patient documents but was unable to gauge any attributing factors such as alcohol or diet, both of which are linked to bowel cancer.

Scientists have already proved that women who take up smoking increase their risk of a heart attack more than men who start smoking. The cause of this is unknown but these recent findings indicate that women may be more vulnerable to smoking-related diseases in general than men.

Overall, tobacco smoking is estimated to be responsible for more than a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK.

Sarah Williams of Cancer Research UK said: "It's well established that smoking causes at least 14 different types of cancer, including bowel cancer.

"For men and women, the evidence is clear - being a non-smoker means you're less likely to develop cancer, heart disease, lung disease and many other serious illnesses."

Smoking rates have been dropping since the turn of the 21st century but men have beenquitting at a faster rate, with around 20% of the female population in the UK still smoking, according to Cancer Research UK.

Quitting smoking or having never smoked can reduce your health insurance premiums.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

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