Study: Strongest proof yet links tobacco, cervical cancer
June 17, 1997
Web posted at: 9:22 p.m. EDT (0122 GMT)
CHICAGO (CNN) -- A tobacco carcinogen was found among women
with cervical cancer in a new study, providing one of the
strongest links to date between that type of cancer and
The carcinogen also was found in women exposed to secondhand
smoke, suggesting that environmental smoke may also be linked
to cervical cancer, according to researchers. The carcinogen,
known as NNK, has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory
"This is an extremely important finding that should lead to
further studies in women who smoke, and those exposed to
secondhand smoke, to find out how this carcinogen interacts
with cervical cells to cause cancer," said Dr. Steven
Waggoner of the University of Chicago, who conducted the
Studies from the past 10 to 15 years have suggested that
among women who smoke, the risk of cervical cancer is two to
five times higher than in nonsmokers, Waggoner said.
While previous research was based on questionnaires and
medical records, the current study was based on physical
evidence that compared cervical mucous in smokers and
Waggoner's study did not look at other lifestyle factors,
such as the number of sexual partners, that have been linked
to cervical cancer.
"But previous studies have looked at factors such as
socioeconomic status and diet," Waggoner said. "When those
factors were controlled for, smoking still remained as an
independent factor linked to cervical cancer."
Findings from the current study are published in this week's
issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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