Smoking Linked to Cancer of the Blood in Women; RESEARCH STRENGTHENS LINK TO HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA

Article excerpt

Byline: JULIA MCWATT

WOMEN who smoke could be increasing their risk of developing cancers of the blood, immune system and bone marrow according to new research.

Although the consequences of smoking on people's health have been well documented, this new study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, increases the strength of evidence that smoking could be linked to conditions such as Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The research, which looked at 1.3 million middle-aged women from a previous study funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council, showed that the risks of Hodgkin's lymphoma and some bone marrow cancers were doubled in women who smoked around 20 cigarettes a day.

The risks of other types of blood cancer were also increased among smokers, but to a lesser extent.

The results shed new light on the link with lymphoma, leukaemia and cancers of the bone marrow.

Over a 10-year period, 9,000 women in the study developed leukaemia, a cancer of the immune system or of the bone marrow.

In the same period, six in every 1,000 women who never smoked developed one of these cancers, whereas the number was almost eight in every 1,000 for smokers.

Professor Valerie Beral, one of the study authors, said: "These results highlight yet again how important smoking is as a cause of cancer.

"Smoking raises the risk of many types of cancer, not just lung cancer, and also the risk of heart attack and stroke, which many people may not be aware of."

A recent survey by Cancer Research UK of the UK public revealed that many people are not aware that tobacco is linked to cancers of the liver, pancreas, bowel, kidney, cervix, and bladder.

In Wales, an estimated 27,690 hospital admissions are caused each year by smoking, with the majority of these for circulatory and respiratory conditions and malignant cancers.

Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: "Smoking is by far the most important preventable risk factor for cancer in the UK - it's responsible for nearly a fifth of all new cancer cases and causes more than a quarter of all deaths from cancer in the UK. …