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Smoking Still Major Contributing Factor in Cancer Deaths

While tobacco use is on the decline across the United States, the effects of years of use are still be felt by those who once held the habit. Researchers have found that nearly half of all cancer deaths, caused by certain forms of the disease, are linked to smoking. The latest study into the dangers of this habit comes courtesy of an American Cancer Society Study that was released in JAMA Internal Medicine.

To arrive at their findings, researchers looked at 12 cancers that have been linked strongly to smoking. In 2011, for example, they discovered that a total of 345,962 people died from these types of cancer. Using data on current and former smokers, they found about 167,805 of these deaths were caused by tobacco use.

The prevalence of a smoking-cancer connection has been found to be associated with such cancers a bronchus, lung, trachea, oral cavity, urinary, colorectal, kidney, stomach and others. Some of the strongest connections were found between smoking and cancer deaths in regard to lung, trachea and bronchus cancers where 80.2 percent of the deaths were linked to smoking. For larynx cancer, 76.6 percent of the deaths were attributed to tobacco use. The incidence rates of deaths linked to smoking was also high in other forms of the disease connected with tobacco use.

Researchers say the study suggests that while smoking is on the decline, much work still needs to be done. In order to really get ahead of the cancer death curve, more efforts need to be focused on helping people choose healthier lifestyle options and enabling those who do smoke to kick the habit.

People who smoke will find they are at higher risk for a wide variety of cancers. Quitting smoking can greatly reduce those risks. Smokers are urged to discuss quitting options with their healthcare providers and to follow through on programs that offer medical and emotional support.

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