Cigarettes Linked to Half of Bladder Cancers in Women

Half of bladder cancer seen in women can be linked to cigarette smoking, a National Cancer Institute study reports.

Previous studies had shown only 20% to 30% of bladder cancer cases in women being caused by smoking. However, new data using the 450,000 participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study — a questionnaire initiated in 1995 with follow-up through the end of 2006 — show that the risk to be much higher. That risk is now comparable to that seen in men. Researchers have recognized for some time that half of bladder cancer in men was linked to cigarette smoking.

“Current [female] smokers in our study had a fourfold excess risk of developing bladder cancer, compared to the threefold risk in previous studies,” said study author Neal Freedman, PhD.

The evening out of risk between men and women may be due to a more equal proportion of men to women smoking cigarettes, Freedman suggested. The increased risk compared with studies conducted in the mid-1990s may be due to a change in the composition of cigarettes.

While tar and nicotine have been reduced in cigarettes, there has been an increase in the concentration of carcinogens associated with bladder cancer. A 2009 study performed by NCI using data from the New England Bladder Cancer Study was the first to suggest the risk had risen. This recent study confirms that.

Formers smokers were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as people who never smoked, the study showed. Current smokers were four times more likely than those who never smoked. Participants who were smoke-free for at least 10 years had a lower incidence of bladder cancer than those who quit for shorter periods of time or still smoked.

While smoking carries the same risk for men and women, men are still four times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, regardless of whether they smoke or not.

1: Freedman ND, Silverman DT, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin A, Abnet CC. Association between smoking and 
risk of bladder cancer among men and women. JAMA. 2011 Aug 17;306(7):737-45. PubMed PMID: 21846855.

Minimally Invasive Techniques Preferable in Colon Cancer Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery for colon cancer can lead to improved short-term outcomes without compromising long-term oncologic results.

According to a retrospective analysis performed by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine, veterans at the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center who underwent colon cancer resections using minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques had more favorable outcomes compared with those who had open surgery.

MIS patients had significantly less blood loss, shorter time in surgery, and it look less time for their bowels to begin functioning again. Also, they spent less time in the hospital and in the intensive care unit, researchers said.

More importantly, they had a more successful lymphadenectomy with more lymph nodes removed and with greater completion and were less likely to experience a postoperative complication.

There was no difference in the overall or disease-free survival rate.

1: Orcutt ST, Marshall CL, Robinson CN, Balentine CJ, Anaya DA, Artinyan A, Awad  SS, 
Berger DH, Albo D. Minimally invasive surgery in colon cancer patients leads  to
improved short-term outcomes and excellent oncologic results. Am J Surg. 2011  Sep 7.
[Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21906721.
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