Female Smokers More Likely to Develop Head and Neck Cancers

Aug 28, 2007
Scientists discovered that, regardless of the anatomic site, smoking is the main cause of developing head and neck cancers in both men and women. A study, published in "Cancer", proved that there is a strong connection between current and past smoking of cigarettes and head and neck cancers in men and women.

The head and neck malignancies include several cancers, such as that of the larynx, nasal passages/nose, oral cavity, and pharynx. Statistics show that yearly there are more than 500,000 people who are being diagnosed with these cancers.

The data provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that men are more than 3 times more likely to develop cancer than women. In addition they have twice as many chances to die from their disease than women.

Although researchers proved the connection of tobacco use with head and neck cancers long ago, the new study focuses on the fact that smoking has a great impact in the development of cancer in women than men.

Dr. Neal Freedman, who works at the NCI, and his team of researchers analyzed data collected from 476,211 men and women and then followed the changes from 1995 to 2000 in order to assess the differences in risk for head and neck cancer in men and women.

The analysis demonstrated that female smokers were the ones exposed to a higher risk of developing any type of head and neck cancer than men. The data taken from the analysis showed that 45 percent of head and neck cancers are connected to smoking in men, while about 75 percent are linked to smoking in women.

"Incidence rates of head and neck cancer were higher in men than in women in all categories examined, but smoking was associated with a larger relative increase in head and neck cancer risk in women than in men," state the authors of the study.

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