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Smoking causes 16 cancers

Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of cancer in Australia. Lung cancer was the first major disease linked to tobacco smoking. There is now evidence that smoking causes 16 types of cancers:

The 16 cancers caused by smoking:

Here’s a list of the 16 cancers you’re at risk of getting if you smoke, and the proportion of cases caused by smoking:

  • Lung: 4 in 5 lung cancers are due to smoking

  • Mouth, throat, nose and sinuses: 65% in men and 45% in women, and voice box: 77% of cancers of the voice box

  • Oesophagus (food pipe): 60% of all cancers of the oesophagus

  • Stomach: 23% in men and 11% in women

  • Bowel (colorectal): Around 6% in men and 7% in women

  • Liver: 24% in men and 11% in women

  • Pancreas: 23% of cancers of the pancreas

  • Cervix and ovary: 17% of mucinous ovarian cancers, a common subtype of ovarian cancer among young women. Smoking causes 7% of cancers of the cervix

  • Bladder, kidney, and ureter: 34% in men and 26% in women

  • Bone marrow (acute myeloid leukaemia): 16% in men and 4% in women.

By the age of 80 years, it’s estimated that 1 in 2 people who smoke will have been diagnosed with cancer. For more information on the 16 cancers caused by smoking, read our 'Smoking causes 16 cancers' fact sheet.

The good news is, stopping smoking reduces your risk of cancer over time. The earlier you stop smoking, the lower your risk.

See how Quit can help you

Graham developed an inoperable tumour on his tongue from smoking. Watch Graham’s story here:

Geoff was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017

Working as a cartoonist, Geoff used cigarettes as a break between drawing sessions. In 2017, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Having stopped smoking years earlier dramatically improved his treatment outcomes:

"After many attempts, I finally managed to stop in 2012. I’m so very glad that I did, because there’s a good chance I may not be here to tell my story if I hadn’t."

 Read Geoff's story here.

Please note, this information is for general use only.  Please consult your health professional for further advice.

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Last updated September 2023

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