Males who smoke are at higher risk than non-smokers to suffer loss of the Y chromosome than non-smokers. This could be the reason why the cancer risk of male smokers is higher than female smokers.
Researchers have found that male smokers possessed fewer blood cells containing the Y chromosome, than non-smokers. It appeared that the trend increased if the male is a heavy smoking, and once they quit smoking, it disappears.
According to Lars Forsberg, the leader of the study from Uppsala University in Sweden, a large numbers of factors were included in the study, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes, blood pressure and age. They found that the loss of the chromosome in some blood cells was more common in those who smoked, compared to those who do not smoke.
He said they discovered that the risk was dependent on the level of smoking. The more cigarettes the male smoked, the higher the proportion of cells without the Y chromosomes.
Dr Forsberg said that the results of their study indicate that smoking causes loss of the Y chromosome, but that it could be reversed. He said the team found no difference in the frequency of cells which had lost the Y chromosome were not different among ex-smokers, when compared to males who had never taken up the habit. He added that this could be a motivation to quit smoking.
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