A recent study published in Monday’s issue of JAMA deemed cigarette smoking responsible for 50 percent of all cancer deaths, highlighting the troubling issues our society faces.
Though all of us make the connection between lung cancer and cigarette smoking, few actually know that other types of cancer, including kidney, cervical and uterine cancer also have cigarette smoking as risk factors. Recent research comes to show that we have greatly underestimated a slow-burning enemy that silently decimates smokers.
The team of researchers led by Dr. Rebecca L. Siegel, American Cancer Society scientist, investigated all cancer-related deaths which occurred in the US population aged 35 or more, in 2011. Of the 345,962 fatalities, 48.5 percent (which accounts for 167,805 people) died because of a cigarette smoking-related cancer.
In fact, of the 12 distinct cancer types that are related to tobacco consumption, the largest proportions of deaths were attributed to broncho-pulmonary cancer (lung cancer). However, a close runner up was larynx cancer in both women and men. In the case of lung cancers, smoking had caused 80% of all deaths while in larynx cancer patients, it had caused 77 percent of fatalities.
Other cancer types incriminated in the study were oral cavity, oesophageal, bladder, kidney, uterine, and cervical malignancies.
One noteworthy aspect of the study involves the fact that smoking was found to be in a decreasing trend. Between 2000 and 2012, smoking prevalence had dropped 5.1 percent (from 23.2 to 18.1 percent). Despite this clear decrease, the harmful consequences of smoking continue to claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of cancer sufferers.
According to Siegel, current smokers will only experience the negative consequences of their cigarette smoking in 30 to 40 years’ time. Perhaps by then, health officials will have enforced additional tobacco control measures to decrease smoking-related rates.
The research team attempted to exclude confounding factors and adjusted their estimates by accounting for other cancer risk factors, including alcohol use, race, age, gender, and education level. Of all cancer deaths, they then estimated which fraction of specific cancers could not have developed had the patient not smoked.
After analysing the smoking habits of the people included in the study, researchers concluded that 80 percent of all lung cancer-related deaths was attributable to smoking. Similarly, 50 percent of oesophageal cancer deaths and 45 percent of bladder cancer-related deaths were caused by cigarette smoking, as were 20 percent of gastric cancers, 22 percent of cervical cancer deaths, 24 percent of liver cancer deaths and17 percent of kidney cancer deaths.
Image Source: Health Hippie