Smoking Raises Risk of Leukemia in Women, Researchers Say

Female smokers have a higher risk of developing leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

The risks of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and some bone marrow cancers were doubled in women who smoked about 20 cigarettes a day compared with non-smokers in research that looked at 1.3 million middle-aged women, Cancer Research U.K. said in a statement today.

“Smoking raises the risk of many types of cancer, not just lung cancer, and also the risk of heart attack and stroke, which many people may not be aware of,” Valerie Beral, one of the study authors and director of the Cancer Research U.K. Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, said in the statement.

Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of whom more than five million are users and former users and more than 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke, according to the World Health Organization. A recent survey by Cancer Research U.K. showed that while most people know that smoking causes cancers of the lung, mouth and throat, few are aware that tobacco is also linked to cancers of the liver, pancreas, bowel, kidney, cervix, and bladder.

The study was funded by the U.K. Medical Research Council and Cancer Research U.K., a charity group that supports cancer research and owns the British Journal of Cancer.

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