Breast cancer is the most common diagnosed cancer in women around the world. Currently, it is suggested that approximately 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer and 1 in 28 women will die from it (Conlon, Johnson, Bewick, Lafrenie, & Donner, 2010). Over the past few years, the expectation after breast cancer treatment has not significantly improved. Therefore, it is important to identify the risk factors and causes of this cancer. Within recent years, many environmental factors have been studied with substantial relevance to breast cancer, however, one of the most controversial factors has been cigarette smoking.
The most preventable risk factor for common diagnosed cancers such as, cancers of the pancreas, bladder and lungs, is cigarette smoking. The carcinogens from tobacco smoke enter the bloodstream through the alveolar membrane and can arrive at target sites such as the breast, by means of lipoproteins in the plasma (Hecht, 2012). Findings within the last 5 years have used different, but similar means of collecting and correlating data to assess the risk factors cigarette smoke may have on the breast. The data used to determine the effect of the cigarette smoke varied according to factors such as, starting age, intensity, duration of smoking, induction period, passive smoking, ethnicity and interactions with certain genes.
Women are more frequently diagnosed with breast cancer than men. H. Lynch & J. Lynch (2011) attempted to challenge this and discovered a recent, significant increase in the cigarette smoking habit among women and subsequently, a rate of lung cancer that is now almost equal to that of males. They used this correlation to infer the difficulty of assessing male and female differences in cancer, especially when considering the impact of cigarette smoking or any other carcinogenic exposure that is not unique to males or females.
The interactions of breast cancer risk with duration of smoking, quantity of smoking, and the age that the individual started smoking have been researched in numerous former studies. The results are usually somewhat contradictory, but positive associations have been reported among smokers who have been smoking for a long time, heavy smokers, and smokers who started at an early age. Previous studies suggested that passive smoking might not play an important role in the etiology of breast cancer (Xue, Willett, Rosner, Hankinson, & Michels, 2011). However, it was found that regular exposure to passive smoking could magnify the effect of active smoking. Since this area has not been explored in previous studies, further evidence was needed to confirm their findings.
Similarly, H. Lynch & J. Lynch (2011) found that women with significant childhood exposure to passive smoking were diagnosed with breast cancer more than non-smokers. Conversely, passive smoking commonly known as second-hand smoke has been discredited as a risk factor partly...