Nearly 50% of deaths for 12 cancers in California are due to tobacco

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In a study from UC Davis, scientists found despite California’s success in reducing tobacco use, there is a continued and strong burden tobacco inflicts on people with cancer.

They looked at people diagnosed with one of 12 tobacco-related cancers from 2014-2019 in California.

The analyses showed that close to half of the cancer deaths over two years between 2017-2019, totaling 93,764 Californians, were associated with tobacco use.

From 2014-2016 to 2017-2019, there was a decline in the proportion of deaths due to smoking from 48% to 45%, with larger declines for women compared with men.

The overall number of smoking-attributed cancer deaths declined by approximately 10%.

In November 2016, a $2 per pack tobacco tax was passed by California voters, which also helps support the activities of the California Tobacco Control Program.

However, another study did not find that smoking behavior in the general population had decreased strongly.

In the study, the team found over half (57.6%) of Californians had used tobacco at some point and current tobacco use was higher than the general population (17.5% vs. 11%), totaling 69,103 patients.

Many Californians diagnosed with 12 types of cancers still use tobacco: about 1 in 5 men (19.6%) and 1 in 7 women (14.5%). Some people with lung cancer or laryngeal cancer had even higher use rates at 30-37%

Tobacco status data used in the study included the use of cigarettes, other smoked tobacco products (such as cigars and pipes) and smokeless tobacco products (such as chewing tobacco and snuff). The use of vaping products is not yet collected by the registry.

The team showed that among the nearly 400,000 patients diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer from 2014-2019, most were over 60 years old (72.3%).

The majority (57.7%) were non-Hispanic white, were men (58%) and nearly half (46.6%) had lung or colorectal cancers.

The greatest number of deaths attributable to tobacco, for both men and women, were from cancers of the lung and bladder.

The greatest proportions of tobacco-related cancer deaths were found in the: lung (90.2%), larynx (85.6%), esophagus (58%), oral cavity/pharynx (55.5%) and bladder (52.7%).

Men mostly had higher proportions of tobacco-related cancers than women, with the largest differences seen in: liver cancer (33.9% men, 11.1% women), stomach cancer (25.9% men, 6.5% women), kidney cancer (23.8% men, 6.8% women) and acute myeloid leukemia (20.8% men, 3.0% women).

The team says smoking remains the largest preventable cause of death from cancer and other diseases.

If you care about cancer, please read studies that depression drug may stop cancer growth, and diet plus vitamin C can be effective for hard-to-treat cancers.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that Vitamin D may strongly reduce cancer risk, and results showing why some processed meat is strongly linked to cancer.

The study was conducted by Frances Maguire et al and published in JAMA Network Open.

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