Smokeless Tobacco Increases Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Published Online: Thursday, September 1, 2005

Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, reported that the use of smokeless tobacco is associated with an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The risk was 67% higher in men who used smokeless tobacco than among men who never used it. The increased risk was limited to men who were also current smokers. Small increases in the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, and stomach were also seen in smokeless tobacco users. The use, however, was not connected to other cancers, such as lung, kidney, or bladder cancer. Researchers confirmed that, overall, smokeless tobacco is no less harmful than smoking tobacco.

The study, they said, "does not offer arguments in favor of the use of smokeless tobacco products to reduce the burden of tobacco-related cancer incidence or mortality." They also said that the study "provides evidence of a carcinogenic effect on the pancreas," but they could not determine from the data if the risk of pancreatic cancer increased with the amount of smokeless tobacco used.

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