Smoking and colorectal cancer risk in the Korean elderly

Hwa Jung Kim, Seung Mi Lee, Nam Kyong Choi, Seon Ha Kim, Hong Ji Song, Young Kyun Cho, Byung Joo Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives : The incidence of colorectal cancer increased greatly among the elderly in Korea, but the relationship between smoking and colon cancer remains controversial. Few studies have targeted Asian elderly people. We analyzed the smoking status, the amount smoked, and the smoking duration as risk factors of colorectal cancer to determine their association and causality. Methods : The cohort members (n=14,103) consisted of 4,694 males and 9,409 females, and they were derived from the Korea Elderly Phamacepidemilogic Cohort (KEPEC), which was a population-based dynamic cohort. They were aged 65 years or more and they lived in Busan Metropolitan City between from 1993-1998; they were beneficiaries of the Korean Medical Insurance Corporation (KMIC). The baseline information was surveyed by a self-administered mailed questionnaire; after 8.7 person-years of mean follow up period, 100 cases of colorectal cancer occurred. The adjusted relative ratio (aRR) of smoking status, the smoking amount and the smoking duration were calculated from the CoxNs proportional hazard model with the never-smokers as a reference group and the Cox model controlled for age, gender, precancerous lesions of CRC, medication history of NSAIDs & antibiotics, the alcohol drinking status and BMI. Results : Compared with the never smokers, the aRRs were 2.03 (95% Cl=1.02-4.03) and 1.36 (95% CU0.80-2.32) for the ex-smokers and current smokers, respectively. Statistical significant trends were not observed for the dose-relationship among the elderly, either for the mean daily amount smoked (p for trend=0.28) or for the total amount (p for trend=0.15). Still, the aRRs were 1.51 (95% CUO.97-2.34) for the elderly who smoked less than 40 years and 2.35 (95% Cl=1.16-4.74) for the elderly who had 40 years or more of smoking (p for trend=0.06). Smokers who started smoking before the age 20 had an increased aRR of 2.15 (95% Cl=1.17-3.93) compared to the never smokers. Conclusions : After controlling for age, gender, precancerous lesion of CRC, medication history of NSAIDs & antibiotics, the alcohol drinking status and BMI, smoking increases the risk of colorectal cancer among elderly people. The age when starting smoking is also important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Cohort study
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Elderly
  • Korea Elderly Phamacepidemilogic Cohort (KEPEC)
  • Smoking


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