Smokers Less Likely to Receive Breast, Cervical, CRC Screening

MONDAY, Aug. 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Current smokers have lower odds of obtaining cancer screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in BMJ Open.

Victor A. Eng, from Stanford University School of Medicine in Redwood City, California, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study based on questionnaire responses from 89,058 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. The association between smoking history and cancer screening rates or staging of cancer diagnoses was examined.

The researchers found that 52.8, 40.8, and 6.37 percent of the women were never smokers, former smokers, and current smokers, respectively. Compared with never smokers, current smokers had lower odds of obtaining breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening during 8.8 years of follow-up (odds ratios, 0.55, 0.53, and 0.71, respectively). Compared with never smokers, former smokers were more likely to receive regular screening services. Among current smokers, failure to adhere to screening guidelines resulted in diagnoses at higher cancer stages for breast and colorectal cancer (odds ratios, 2.78 and 2.26, respectively).

“Concern for personal health is the most common reason given for smoking cessation among former smokers and may explain why this health-conscious population seeks cancer screening more frequently than never smokers,” the authors write. “On the contrary, smokers are overly optimistic about their health and consistently underestimate the magnitude of their cancer risk.”

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