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Environ Res. 2004 Oct;96(2):176-85.

Environmental tobacco smoke and breast cancer incidence.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, CB#7435 McGavern-Greenberg Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435, USA.


To evaluate whether environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) influences breast cancer incidence, data from a population-based case-control study were analyzed. Respondents with available ETS information assessed by in-person questionnaires included 1356 newly diagnosed cases and 1383 controls. Relative to nonsmokers who reported no residential ETS exposure throughout the life course, the odds ratios (OR) for breast cancer were not substantially elevated in relation to ETS exposure, active smoking, or a joint measure of active and passive smoking (OR, 1.15, 95% CI, 0.90, 1.48). An increased OR, however, was noted among nonsmokers who lived with a smoking spouse for over 27 years (2.10, 95% CI, 1.47, 3.02), although no dose-response was evident. Also, among women with hormone-receptor-positive tumors only, the OR for both active and passive smoking was increased (1.42 for ER+ PR+, 95% CI, 1.00, 2.00). Our data suggest that if there is an effect for ETS on breast cancer, that effect is restricted to selected subgroups of women, such as those with long-term exposure from a smoking spouse.

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