Women smokers may have higher colon risk

Oct. 31, 2011 at 8:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Women are still at an elevated risk for colorectal cancer even after quitting smoking, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Joseph C. Anderson of the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont and colleagues at the University of Connecticut examined the risk of advanced neoplasia -- advanced pre-cancerous tissue changes -- in 2,428 male and female patients age 45 and older who quit smoking.

"The risk of advanced neoplasia was significantly elevated for women and men whether they were current smokers and/or former smokers who quit within five years of screening colonoscopy," Anderson told the American College of Gastroenterology's 76th annual scientific meeting in Washington. "The risk was elevated for female smokers who quit six to 10 years prior to screening but not for male smokers."

The data suggest the impact of smoking has a longer-term effect in women than in men, and could have an impact on colorectal cancer screening in male vs. female smokers, Anderson said.

If smoking is used as a factor for determining when to begin screening, for example, there might be different parameters for men than for women, Anderson suggested.

Recent American College of Gastroenterology guidelines include smoking as a risk factor that should be considered when screening for colorectal cancer, Anderson said.

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