February: Gallbladder & Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month

Ending tobacco epidemic – an essential step for beating cancer

While the link between tobacco use and risk of biliary tract cancers is still being investigated, there is evidence that ever, former, and current smoking are associated with increased extrahepatic bile duct, intrahepatic bile duct and ampulla of Vater cancers. (1,2)

Recent research also demonstrates that gallbladder cancer should be considered as a new smoking-related cancer. The risk of gallbladder cancer increases linearly with smoking intensity and duration, the RR being 1.60 (95% CI: 1.21-2.11) for 30 cigarettes/day and 1.25 (95% CI: 1.01-1.56) for 30 years of smoking. (3) 

In many educational and preventive health sources smoking is not yet mentioned as a clear risk factor for various biliary tract cancers but based on the available evidence general public, patients and health care community have to be informed about these recent findings.


1. McGee, Emma E., et al. “Smoking, alcohol, and biliary tract cancer risk: a pooling project of 26 prospective studies. ” JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute 111.12 (2019): 1263-1278.

2. Makiuchi, Takeshi, et al. “Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Risks for Biliary Tract Cancer and Intrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer.” Journal of Epidemiology: 2019 Volume 29; Issue 5; Pages 180-186.

3. Lugo, Alessandra, et al. “Should we consider gallbladder cancer a new smoking-related cancer? A comprehensive meta-analysis focused on dose-response relationships.” IJC:  International Journal of Cancer; 2020 Jun 15; 146(12): 3304-3311.

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