Cigarette smoking might cost you your ass

“I know that,” you say. But taken more or less literally, those words have a newly discovered and important meaning. According to a study published in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), smoking has been linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer.

Edoardo Botteri, M.Sc., of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to review and summarize published data examining the link between smoking and CRC incidence and death.
The researchers identified 106 observational studies, and the meta-analysis was based on a total of nearly 40,000 new cases of CRC. For the analysis on incidence, smoking was associated with an 18 percent increased risk of CRC. The researchers also found a statistically significant dose-relationship with an increasing number of pack-years (number of packs of cigarettes smoked/day, multiplied by years of consumption) and cigarettes per day. However, the association was statistically significant only after 30 years of smoking.
Seventeen studies were included in the analysis of mortality, which indicated that smokers have a 25 percent increased risk of dying from CRC than people who have never smoked. There also was an increase in risk of CRC death with increasing number of cigarettes per day smoked and for longer duration of smoking. For both incidence and death, the association was stronger for cancer of the rectum than of the colon.

So smokers concerned with the possibility of winding up with lung cancer can relax a little, because it’s now established that there’s one more disease that stands a decent chance of getting them first.

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