Which cancers are caused by smoking?

Click the circle highlights to find out about each type of cancer caused by smoking.


How does smoking cause cancer

Chemicals in cigarette smoke enter our blood stream and can then affect the entire body. This is why smoking causes so many diseases, including 16 types of cancer, heart disease and various lung diseases. Smoking causes nearly one in five (19%) of new cases of cancer and 1 in 4 deaths (28%) from cancer.

Smoking damages our DNA, including genes that protect us against cancer. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage including benzene, used as an industrial solvent, and formaldehyde, used to embalm dead bodies, and radioactive Polonium 210.

This is bad news, but it’s made worse by other chemicals in cigarettes which make the poisons stick more strongly to DNA, increasing the chances of serious damage. Other chemicals like arsenic interfere with pathways for repairing damaged DNA - making it even more likely that damaged cells will eventually turn cancerous.

Research has shown that for every 15 cigarettes smoked there is a DNA change which could cause a cell to become cancerous. This is why it’s better to stop smoking sooner rather than later.

Visit the website of Cancer Research UK or talk to your GP if you are concerned about symptoms


Quit 16 website and logo copyright Fresh / Smokefree Yorkshire and Humber 2016.
Thanks to the Cancer Council Western Australia for use of the 16 Cancers advert.

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