Young Female Smokers at High Risk of Breast Cancer – Study Finds

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking, side effects

The 3 Week Diet

And 5 Additional Health Consequences of Smoking in Women’s Health

Caution to female smokers out there – those who have smoked a pack a day for the last 10 years have a 60 percent higher risk of developing a common type of breast cancer, called estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, new research revealed.

According to the American Cancer Society, two-thirds of breast cancer cases affecting women are hormone receptor positive cancers.


The study involved 938 cancer-free individuals, 778 people with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, and another 182 people with triple-negative breast cancer. Participants were between ages 20 and 44 and were diagnosed between 2004 and 2010.

“The health hazards associated with smoking are numerous and well known,” says study lead author Christopher Li, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “This study adds to our knowledge in suggesting that with respect to breast cancer, smoking may increase the risk of the most common molecular subtype of breast cancer but not influence risk of one of the rarer, more aggressive subtypes.”

An earlier research conducted by Harvard University in 2011 revealed that women who have smoked a pack for more than 30 years had 28 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer compared with those who never smoked.

Other health consequences

There are more reasons for women to quit smoking today. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 140,000 women in the US die annually because of smoking-related diseases. Numerous studies have shown that those who smoked have higher chances of dying from heart disease and lung cancer than those who don’t.


What’s more, female smokers are 12 times more likely to die from lung cancer than women who do not smoke. They are also 10 times more likely to die from bronchitis and emphysema.

And while all female smokers are vulnerable to such diseases, those who are on birth control pills, as well as post-menopausal women have the highest risk of succumbing to these debilitating illnesses.


If you are still unsure about quitting smoking or you don’t think that today is “the right time”, consider the following health facts:

Cancer – lung cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer among women. About 68,000 American women die of lung cancer each year, and such mortality rates have increased by whopping 600 percent since 1950s.

Cardiovascular disease – the American Heart Association revealed that women who smoke are at a greater risk of developing heart problems. The risk is three times higher among middle-aged women who smoke than middle-aged women who don’t.

Reproductive health issues – female smokers are more likely to suffer from pregnancy complications, infertility, miscarriage, pre-term delivery, sudden infant death syndrome, and having low birth-weight babies.

Hormonal problems – smoking causes women to reach the menopausal stage earlier as it speeds up the aging process. Tobacco has also been found to disrupt menstrual cycle.

Children’s health – children of women who smoke are more likely to have learning difficulties, poor health quality, attention deficit disorder, and behavioral issues.

To avoid these long-term health consequences, now is the time to stop smoking. A large body of research suggests that quitting smoking may halve women’s risk of developing serious health problems and increase their life expectancy.


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