Smoking may raise risk of skin cancer

Smoking has long been associated with cancers of various organs, but new research suggests it may increase risk of developing one common skin cancer. Medical investigators in the Netherlands say squamous cell carcinoma, which is usually associated with chronic sun exposure, occurs 2.4 to 4.1 times as often among smokers than nonsmokers. Risk increased with number of cigarettes. However, the researchers found no such connection with basal cell carcinoma or malignant melanoma, the two other basic forms of skin cancer. The potentially serious role of smoking in the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, easily treated in its early stages, has been explored in studies before. However, proving a definitive link has been difficult and thus the possible role smoking plays has attracted little attention. The new study conducted by Dr. Maarten Bastiaens and colleagues will likely change that, independent experts told United Press International.

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