Study Links Smoking to One Type of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer, smoking, cigarette, heart disease , lung cancer, smoking and skin cancer , squamous cell carcinoma
A new study is giving fresh reason to fret about smoking cigarettes! Researchers in Queensland claim to have found the strongest link thus far between smoking and skin cancer.

In a study, researchers at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia found that smokers are significantly more likely to develop a common form of skin cancer.

In the past, studies have suggested a plethora of ill effects pertaining to smoking, ranging from wrinkles and sagging skin to heart disease and lung cancer, but no definitive link between smoking and skin cancer has so far been suggested.

In the current study, professor David Whiteman, of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and colleagues have come up with strong evidence on the link between smoking and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a type of skin cancer which start in the outer layer of the skin.

“These type of cancers are not as lethal as melanomas, but they’re much more common and they’re still quite serious cancers of the skin,” Professor Whiteman said.

For the study, the research team involved 18,828 Caucasian Queenslanders between the ages 40 – 69, ten percent of whom were current smokers, 35 percent were former smokers and 55 percent had never taken up the habit. No participant in the study had ever been diagnosed with a skin cancer. The team then tracked the study subjects to see how many common skin cancers they developed over three years.

The researchers found those who currently smoked were more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. The team found the risk was particularly strong for the participants who were current smokers, as opposed to former smokers or those who had never smoked.

The current smokers, in fact, were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop the cancer of skin than non-smokers, they found.

“We also found that among the smokers and former smokers, their risk of skin cancer wasn’t affected by how long they’d smoked for, how heavily they’d smoked,” Professor Whiteman said.

The study authors however acknowledged more research is needed to determine how smoking increases the risk of the skin cancer.

“We don’t yet understand how smoking might increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, but these findings strongly suggest that by quitting, smokers are lowering their risk to the same level as someone who has never smoked,” Professor Whiteman said.

The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and published Wednesday in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.