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The number of tobacco-related tumors has doubled in recent decades

Tumors associated with tobacco use have increased significantly over the past decades in the León Health Region (Spain). A study involving between 1997 and 2014, including 7,103 cases, reveals that this increase is particularly pronounced in women. The figures are similar to those of other residents of Spain and indicate the importance of this avoidable risk factor.

In the first triennial study, between 1997 and 1999, the incidence on 100,000 men was 116.4 cases. In the last decade that includes this work, it has reached 228 points between 2012 and 2014, almost doubling it. Data between the female population is lower, but the increase is more pronounced. At the end of the 1990s, there were 19.8 cases per 100,000 women, compared with 44.5 in the last three years, more than doubled.

"75% of the tumors examined correspond to lung and bladder cancer, but there are many others, such as lips, tongue, stomach, mouth, oropharynx, nosorhex, hypopharynx, nose and larynx," explains Lidia García Martínez of the Diagnostic Group on Genetic Interaction and Genetic Interaction, Institute of Biomedicine (IBIOMED) of the University of León.

Every year, the increase in the total number of cases is very clear – according to data from Medicina de Familia in the Spanish Society of Primary Care Surgeons (SEMERGEN), "We estimate that 59% can be directly attributed to snuff, with about 170 León health , "says the expert.

The most significant data from the study include a large increase in women, from about 30 cases in 1997 to about 80 in 2014. "This is mainly due to the increase in the prevalence of smoker women started in the previous decades and the sustained presence," says Lidia García.

There are certain geographical differences in the province that are determined by smoking. Therefore, the analysis involves the concept of "relative risks", ie, it is more likely that a person will suffer from a cancer (in this case associated with tobacco) in that community. In this case, the study suggests that in Villadangos del Páramo and Valencia de Don Juan the probability of suffering of the analyzed tumors is three and four times higher than the León average.

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Map of Relative Risks of Municipalities in León Health Area. (Picture: U. de León / CIBERESP / DICYT)

"The identified geographical differences show that preventive strategies tailored to local situations that reduce the prevalence of smokers and prevent the inclusion of young people need to be applied," he said.

In this sense, all data from this research can be useful in terms of prevention. In general, "the report we want to launch is very clear that tobacco smuggles more than seven million people every year in the world, a death that can be avoided by not having to," researcher IBIOMED says.

For this, "the first thing to know is that we are facing an all-encompassing health problem, reducing the number of new smokers by increasing the price of tobacco and limiting its accessibility, and helping smokers stop."

The data recorded in León are in line with the data of the whole of Spain, which has been contributed by other authors, particularly with regard to the incidence of lung and bladder cancer, which has increased significantly in both sexes in recent years. However, there are some special features in this area. For example, the rate of larynx cancer in women is among the highest in Spain, approximately one case per 100,000 population. For men, rates are 14.6 per 100,000, which is similar to the rest of the community.

"This heterogeneous distribution of tumors was not observed in our area because previous studies of lung and bladder cancer did not get a significant geographic difference that would occur when all tobacco-related tumors were involved," the expert notes.

The same team previously studied major tumors that are registered in León: colon cancer, stomach, breast, prostate and bladder cancer. From now on, they may extend the study of many of them in further research or continue to study other major tumors. (Source: José Pichel Andrés / DICYT)

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