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Vices can quicken colon cancer onset

April 03, 2006|From Times wire reports

People who smoke and who drink alcohol should start screening for colon cancer earlier because they tend to contract the disease earlier than those who abstain from cigarettes and alcohol, researchers have found.

An analysis of 161,000 colon cancer victims found those who had smoked and consumed alcohol in the previous year contracted the disease an average of eight years earlier than people who never smoked and never drank. The average age of initial diagnosis was 62 for male smokers and drinkers, 63 for female.

In the study, those who smoked but did not drink, or the reverse, developed the disease an average of five years earlier than abstainers, with female smokers particularly at risk of getting the disease earlier. Use of alcohol and cigarettes heightens the risks of all types of cancer.

The study was published in the March 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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