ISLAMABAD – Smoking may not only cause wrinkles and sagging skin, it might also increase your risk of one type of skin cancer, researchers suggest in a new report.
Studies have linked smoking to a long list of health effects, including heart disease and lung cancer, but the evidence has been mixed for skin cancer.
More than 3.5 million cases of the disease are found every year in the US, making it the most common of all cancers. While the two main forms basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are rarely deadly, researchers say they are on the rise, Medical Health News Reported.
In a new study, Fiona Bath-Hextall of the University of Nottingham in England and colleagues pooled the available evidence on the link between tobacco and basal and squamous cell cancers, which start in the outer layer of the skin.
Based on 14 previous studies, smokers didn’t appear to have higher rates of basal cell cancer. But they did have a 52-percent increase in their risk of squamous cell cancer, based on six studies that varied in size, duration and design.
That extra risk is similar to that of ultraviolet radiation, the most well- known risk factor for squamous cell cancer, according to a commentary published along with the new results in the Archives of Dermatology.
But the commentary, by Dr. Joris Verkouteren and Dr. Tamar Nijsten at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, also warns that the six studies were relatively small and were not necessarily comparable. Because all of the studies are based on observations, it’s impossible to say for certain whether smoking caused the increase in skin cancer risk. While current smokers had a higher risk than former smokers, there was no link with the number of cigarettes smoked per day or how long a person had been smoking.
Still, the researchers believe it’s likely that tobacco causes basal cell skin cancer, and Bath-Hextall called the findings “another good reason to give up smoking.” She said people should regularly check their skin for early skin cancer. She added that doctors should “actively survey” people at high risk of squamous cell cancer such as smokers.
Oddly, smokers don’t seem to be at increased risk for melanoma. In fact, some studies have suggested they might even have a smaller chance of getting the disease although scientists are still trying to figure out if that’s really true.
However, the task force recommends counseling fair-skinned children and young adults aged 10 to 24 years about cutting back on ultraviolet radiation whether from the sun or indoor tanning to reduce their risk of skin cancer.
While squamous and basal cell carcinomas are the most common skin cancer, melanoma is the deadliest, accounting for nearly 9,000 of the 12,000 or so skin cancer deaths each year in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
Exercise helps beat common cold
There may not be a cure for the common cold, but people who exercise regularly seem to have fewer and milder colds. On an average, adults can expect to catch a cold two to four times a year, and children can expect to get six to 10 colds annually, Health News reported.
Researchers collected data on 1,002 men and women from ages 18 to 85 years in America. Over 12 weeks in the autumn and winter, the researchers tracked the number of upper respiratory tract infections the participants suffered.
In addition, all the participants reported how much and what kinds of aerobic exercise they did weekly, and rated their fitness levels using a 10-point system. They were also asked about their lifestyle, dietary patterns and stressful events, all of which can affect the immune system. It was found that the frequency of colds among people who exercised five or more days a week was up to 46 percent less than those who were largely sedentary that is, who exercised only one day or less of the week.
In addition, the number of days people suffered cold symptoms was 41percent lower among those who were physically active on five or more days
of the week, compared to the sedentary group.
The group that felt the fitteienced 34 percent fewer days of cold symptoms than those the least fit. Moreover, colds also appeared to be less severe for those in better shape. Among those who felt
the fittest, the severity of symptoms dropped by 32 percent and by 41 percent among those who exercised most.