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Smoking Linked to Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Non-melanoma skin cancer patients more often have smoking history than cancer-free controls

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) patients are twice as likely to have ever smoked compared to those with no past or present history of skin cancer, according to research published online Nov. 19 in Cancer Causes and Control.

Dana E. Rollison, Ph.D., of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues analyzed data from 698 adult patients of dermatology and primary care clinics who were NMSC patients (383) or patients with no history of skin cancer who screened skin cancer-negative on physical examination (315). Researchers also compiled information from patients' self-administered questionnaires related to smoking history and other skin cancer risk factors.

According to the researchers, ever smoking was significantly associated with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (odds ratio [OR], 1.97; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.19 to 3.26) but not with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) (OR, 1.26; 95 percent CI, 0.83 to 1.92). Cigarettes smoked per day and pack-years smoked were significantly associated with SCC risk (p = 0.01 for both). In men, smoking 20 or more pack-years was associated with non-significant increases in BCC (OR, 1.90; 95 percent CI, 0.88 to 4.12) and SCC (OR, 1.97; 95 percent CI, 0.84 to 4.66). While there was no link between BCC and women who smoked 20 or more pack-years, SCC risk was significantly increased in this group (OR, 3.00; 95 percent CI, 1.02 to 8.80).

"In conclusion, cigarette smoking was associated with NMSC, with significantly increased risks associated with increasing dose (cigarettes per day), duration (number of years smoked), and pack-years smoked," the authors write. "Cigarette smoking is more strongly associated with SCC than BCC, particularly among women."

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