Does Smoking Increase My Risk for Breast Cancer?

Question: Does smoking increase my risk for breast cancer?

Answer: I'd like to start by pointing out that if we eliminate smoking we would reduce all cancer-related mortality by 30 percent. (The) best we know (is) that cigarettes, in any form, are not safe. In relation to breast cancer, in particular, most of the studies haven't found a striking increase, but some of that may be because of the smoking habits of women. Smoking was uncommon in this country prior to World War II. And when women started smoking they tended to be adults when they started the habit.

Ninety-five percent of smokers in this country start as teenagers and that might be a particularly susceptible time for women -- when their breasts are growing and maturing and tissues rapidly dividing. That, I think, is a question that we're going to need to pay close attention to and continue to study. So, currently, there isn't evidence that it increases risk. There's certainly no good reason why one should continue to smoke or feel like they're safe if they do smoke.

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