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Smokers, Drinkers Get Colon Cancer Earlier Than Others

Distal location of colorectal cancer also 1.42 times more likely in actively smoking and drinking men

MONDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Men who actively drink and smoke tend to develop colorectal cancer (CRC) almost eight years earlier than men who don't, and 1.9 years earlier than women who do, according to study findings published in the March 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Anna L. Zisman, M.D., of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues analyzed data on 161,172 patients diagnosed with CRC between June 1993 and December 2003.

The researchers found that the onset of CRC in men who actively drink, smoke, or both smoke and drink occurs 5.2, 5.2 and 7.8 years earlier, respectively, than in those who don't. CRC was more likely to surface in a distal location in current drinkers (odds ratio 1.19) and smokers (OR, 1.16).

CRC surfaced 1.9 years earlier in men than women, and was 1.42 times more likely to be distal, the researchers found. Smoking, not drinking, had a greater effect on women.

"Alcohol use, tobacco use, and male gender were associated with earlier onset and a distal location of CRC," the authors write. "If confirmed, these factors should guide recommendations regarding initiation of CRC screening and possibly, choice of techniques."

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