File - Smokers stand outside restaurants and bars to have a cigarette. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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In a study in the journal Science, researchers at Sweden's Uppsala University found that Y chromosomes, which are important for sex determination and sperm production, more often disappear from blood cells of smokers than those of men who have never smoked or of men who have kicked the habit.Since only men have Y chromosomes, the finding offers a possible answer to why smoking is a greater risk factor for cancer among men than women.Lars Forsberg, who also worked on the study, said this suggested Y chromosome loss due to smoking might be reversibleThe scientists are not sure how loss of Y chromosomes in blood cells is linked with the development of cancer, although one possibility is that immune cells in blood that have lost their Y chromosome have a reduced capacity to fight cancer cells.
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