Smoke peril higher for women

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FEMALE Wigan smokers could be more at risk to cancers than men.

New pan-European research looked at the medical records of 600,000 patients and discovered the bowel cancer risk linked to smoking was twice as high in women than men.

Female smokers had a 19 per cent increased risk of the disease while male smokers’ risk rose nine per cent, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention reports.

In the study, nearly 4,000 of the participants developed bowel cancer. Women who started smoking when they were 16 or younger and those who had smoked for decades were at substantially increased risk of bowel cancer.

Dr Kate Ardern, Wigan’s executive director of public health, said: “The rise in the numbers of women dying from lung cancer has been rising in line with the increase in women smokers from the 1960s onwards.

“This is one of the many reasons why we have invested so heavily in the borough in providing help for smokers to become smoke-free. The Million Women Study shows that smoking has an even worse effect on the health of women than we previously expected.

“However, there is some good news because the study also points out that women who stop smoking before the age of 40 (and preferably well before this age), will significantly reduce their risk of dying prematurely.”