Most of us are aware that excessive exposer to the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. However, exposer to some chemicals can also cause cancer in the skin. Tobacco smoke contains polyaromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to cause cancer in the skin and other organs.
Research showed that current and ever smokers are at an increased risk for developing skin cancer. Tobacco exposure included cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. The studies were insufficient as to whether or not tobacco use had an effect on nonmelanona skin cancer or just basal cell carcinoma alone but they did show a consistent and significant increase in the risk for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Interestingly, the study found that current smokers and those who had ever smoked were at greater risk for developing cutaneous SCC than former smokers.
Leonardi-Bee J et al. Smoking and the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Dermatol 2012 Aug; 148:939. Published in Journal Watch Dermatology August 30, 2012
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