A current focus in cancer research is the study of environmental factors and risks of developing certain types of cancer. Smoking tobacco products has been implicated in an increased risk of developing several types of cancers; research continues to investigate associations between smoking and risks of cancers as well as innovative ways to promote smoking cessation. Prior studies have suggested that smoking may be associated with an increased risk in the development of colorectal cancer; however, data regarding this association has been conflicting.
Researchers from Hawaii recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate potential associations between smoking and colorectal cancer. The study included male and female individuals from several different ethnicities; both smokers and non-smokers were included. Rates of colorectal cancer were evaluated in association with smoking.
- Individuals who had ever smoked had an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer compared with individuals who had never smoked.
- Individuals who smoked the most had an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Individuals who smoked non-filtered cigarettes had an increased risk of both colon and rectal cancer.
- Individuals who smoked filtered cigarettes had an increased risk of rectal cancer but not colon cancer.
These researchers concluded that smoking increases the risk of colorectal cancer, with a greater number of cigarettes smoked during a lifetime adding to this risk. In addition, filtered cigarettes are associated with an increased risk of rectal cancer whereas non-filtered cigarettes are associated with an increased risk of both colon and rectal cancer. Individuals who are smokers may wish to speak with their physician regarding smoking cessation programs.
Reference: Luchtenborg M, White K, Wilkens L, Kolonel L, Le Marchand L. Smoking and colorectal cancer: different effects by type of cigarettes? Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. 2007;16:1341-1347.