Studies have shown that the risk of endometrial cancer is lower in postmenopausal women who currently smoke or who have smoked in the past compared with women who have never smoked.
However, the major health risks associated with smoking far outweigh this effect. Tobacco smoking causes lung cancer and cancers of many other organs including the nasal cavity, throat, stomach, liver, kidney, bowel and bladder. Smoking is the major known and preventable cause of cancer worldwide. Tobacco smoke contains more than 5,300 chemicals, including more than 70 chemicals that are known to cause cancer.
The association between smoking and decreased risk of endometrial cancer is likely to be due to hormones. Studies suggest that the female hormone oestrogen is associated with risk of endometrial cancer. Smoking tobacco can lower levels of oestrogen and this may lower a woman’s risk. Smoking may also lead to earlier menopause and can lower body fat, both of which can affect a woman’s hormone levels.
Further information can be found at:
- Cancer Australia Position Statement – Lifestyle risk factors and the primary prevention of cancer
- My QuitBuddy – Australian Government Department of Health