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Smoking and second-hand smoke linked to breast cancer

A new study of post-menopausal women finds that smoking, as well as second-hand smoke, is linked to higher risks of breast cancer, according to HealthDay.

"The findings are important because smoking was not previously thought to increase the risk of breast cancer, but this study adds to the increasing evidence that it does," Dr. Karen Margolis, lead scientist of the study from HealthPartners Research Foundation in Minneapolis, told the news source.

Researchers say that long-term smoking is correlated to higher breast cancer risks. However, smokers who stop smoking can lower their risks back to the average level, about 20 years after quitting.

The study looked at almost 80,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79, and found that smokers on average had a 16 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to non-smokers.

Breast cancer affects about one in eight women in the United States, at some point in her life, according to the American Cancer Society. Regular exercise has been linked to lowering breast cancer risks, reported other recent studies.
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