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Risk factors for breast cancer

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 10 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:365

Smoking may be important

  1. Kenneth C Johnson, senior epidemiologist.
  1. Cancer Bureau, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, LCDC Building, PL 0601C1, Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0L2
  2. Edinburgh Breast Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU
  3. School of Biological and Medical Sciences, But Medical Building, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TS

    EDITOR—The review by McPherson et al on the epidemiology of and risk factors for breast cancer states that: “Smoking is of no importance in the aetiology of breast cancer.”1 The authors seem to be unaware of the mounting evidence that supports the relation between tobacco smoke and breast cancer. Seven of the eight studies that examined the relation between passive smoking and breast cancer suggest that there is an association between an increased risk of breast cancer and passive long term exposure to smoke among women who have never smoked; this is particularly true in cases of breast cancer occurring before menopause.24

    Furthermore, when passive smoking was controlled for in these studies, active …

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