Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Breast Cancer Risk in Thai Urban Females


The incidence of urban female breast cancer has been continuously increasing over the past decade with unknown etiology. One hypothesis for this increase is carcinogen exposure from tobacco. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the risk of urban female breast cancer from tobacco smoke exposure.The matched case control study was conducted among Thai females, aged 17-76 years and living in Bangkok or its surrounding areas. A total of 444 pairs of cases and controls were recruited from the Thai National Cancer Institute. Cases were newly diagnosed and histologically confirmed as breast cancer while controls were selected from healthy women who visited a patient, matched by age ± 5 years. After obtaining informed consent, tobacco smoke exposure data and information on other potential risk factors were collected by interview. The analysis was performed by conditional logistic regression, and presented with odds ratio (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals(CI). From all subjects, 3.8% of cases and 3.4% of controls were active smokers while 11.0% of cases and 6.1% of controls were passive smokers. The highest to lowest sources of passive tobacco smoke were from spouses (40.8%), the workplace (36.8%) and public areas (26.3%), respectively. After adjusting for other potential risk factors or confounders, females with frequent low-dose passive smoke exposure (≤7 hours per week) from a spouse or workplace had adjusted odds ratio 3.77 (95%CI=1.11-12.82) and 4.02 (95%CI=1.04-15.50) higher risk of breast cancer compared with non-smokers, respectively. However, this study did not find any association ofbreast cancer risk in high dose passive tobacco smoke exposure, or a dose response relationship in cumulative passive tobacco smoke exposure per week, or in the active smoker group. In conclusion, passive smoke exposure may be one important risk factor of urban female breast cancer, particularly, from a spouse or workplace. This risk factor highlights the importance of avoiding tobacco smoke exposure as a key measure for breast cancer prevention and control.