Second Hand Smoke & Breast Cancer in Young Women

Did you know that you could be increasing your risk of breast cancer every time you inhale second hand smoke?  October marks the beginning of breast cancer awareness month and when most people think about breast cancer they think about older women.  Did you know that in addition to smoking, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke as a child or adult appears to increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, according to a study published online  in the British Medical Journal?  Data showed that women who had never smoked but had lived or worked with smokers for the longest periods-10 years or longer during childhood, 20 years or longer as an adult at home, and 10 years or longer as an adult at work-had an increased cancer risk of 32% compared with never-exposed women.

Women exposed to lesser amounts of passive smoke didn't show the same risk. The study also found a 16% increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer for active smokers and a 9% increase in risk for ex-smokers that continued for as long as 20 years after smoking cessation.  The researchers call the findings "suggestive" and call for more research to confirm them. They write that that the findings "highlight the need for interventions to prevent initiation of smoking, especially at an early age, and to encourage smoking cessation at all ages."

This month remember all the things that we can all be doing to end breast cancer which would include stopping smoking.  If you have not scheduled your mammogram for this year we recommend that you do so here.