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Panel Sees Role for Smoking in Breast Cancer

April 23, 2009

From New York Times online
Published: April 23, 2009

Smoking causes lung cancer and is implicated in a dozen other cancers, but scientists have generally dismissed its importance in breast cancer, saying it plays little role, if any.

Now, a Canadian panel of experts is challenging the widely held view.

In a report issued on Thursday, the panel asserted that evidence from new studies strongly suggests that smoking increases the risk of breast cancer, and warned that girls and young women faced special risks from exposure to smoke. For them, even exposure to secondhand smoke during this critical period of development may increase the risk of breast cancer later in life, the report said.

The report found strong evidence that secondhand smoke contributed to premenopausal breast cancer, but did not find enough support to say it increased the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

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