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Tobacco Use Remains Leading Modifiable Cause of Cancer

Tobacco control could prevent more cancer deaths than any other strategy


THURSDAY, Oct. 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Tobacco use remains the leading modifiable cause of cancer and should be a priority for cancer control, according to a report published online Oct. 10 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Susan M. Gapstur, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues discussed modifiable risk factors for cancer in the United States as well as interventions to reduce exposure to these factors.

The researchers note that tobacco use remains the leading cause of cancer, with tobacco smoking (active and secondhand smoke) causing an estimated 19.4 percent of all cancers diagnosed and 29.6 percent of all cancer deaths in 2014. Tobacco control could prevent more cancer deaths than any other strategy; the decline in smoking prevalence accounted for more than half of the 26 percent decline in cancer mortality rates that began in 1991. Approximately 7.8 percent of incident cancer cases in 2014 were attributed to excess body fatness, with the population-attributable fraction higher for women than men (10.9 and 4.8 percent of cases, respectively). Clear evidence indicates that excess body fatness contributes to cancer risk, but the full impact is unclear. Alcohol consumption is also a major contributor to cancer among women and men (6.4 and 4.8 percent, respectively).

"It is the responsibility of government and industry as well as the public health, medical, and scientific communities to work together to invest in and implement a comprehensive cancer control plan," the authors write.

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