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HHS HealthBeat (June 8, 2011)

Breast cancer and smoking

Sad woman smoking
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that postmenopausal women who smoke have a higher risk of breast cancer. At West Virginia University, Juhua Luo and colleagues looked at more than 10 years of data on close to 80,000 women ages 50 to 79 in the Women’s Health Initiative.

``The more women smoked, and the longer they smoked, and the earlier they started smoking, the higher the risk.’’ (7 seconds)

 Dr. Luo says the risk fell in women who quit smoking, but it takes up to 20 years to go back to that of a nonsmoker.

She says it’s another reason for women not to smoke, or to quit smoking if they smoke currently.

The study in the journal BMJ was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: June 7, 2011