cigarette smokers have a 60% greater risk of cervical
cancer than women who never smoked, according to a new
study. Researchers with the International
Collaboration of Epidemiological Studies of Cervical
Cancer evaluated data from 23 studies on the effects of
smoking on cervical cancer risk. Included in the study
were 23,017 women who were initially free of cervical
analysis found a relationship between age of starting
smoking and cervical cancer, but not between duration of
smoking and cervical cancer risk.
"It is not clear
why this association was present," said team member
Amy Berrington de Gonzales of Cancer Research U.K. in
Oxford, England. "One possible explanation is that
duration of smoking was reported less accurately than
age at starting smoking, and age at starting smoking
is acting as a surrogate for duration of smoking, i.e.,
earlier age at starting smoking is a marker of longer
Eight of the
studies included data on cervical infection with human
papillomavirus. HPV has been linked to most cases of
cervical cancer. In the eight studies, women who
tested positive for HPV had a cervical cancer risk
almost double that of women who were not HPV-infected.
results confirm that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for
cervical cancer, Berrington said, "as the association was
present also in women who were HPV-positive, strongly
suggesting that the association is not just due to
confounding between sexual behavior and smoking."
shown lesbians are significantly more likely to smoke than
their heterosexual peers and as such are at a higher risk of
smoking-related illnesses like lung cancer and emphysema.
(Reuters, with additional reporting by The