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Cigarette Smoking After Cancer Diagnosis Increases Risk of Death

Study finds ‘room for improvement’ in post-diagnosis tobacco control (December 6)

Men who continued to smoke after a diagnosis of cancer had an increased risk of death compared with those who quit smoking after the diagnosis, according to a new study from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. The findings were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Compared with men who did not smoke after a cancer diagnosis, those who smoked after a diagnosis had a 59% increase in the risk of death from all causes, after adjusting for factors such as age, the cancer site, and the type of treatment. When the analysis was limited to men who were smokers at the time of a cancer diagnosis, those who continued smoking after the diagnosis had a 76% increase in the risk of death from all causes compared with those who quit smoking after the diagnosis.

The risk of death increased 2.95-fold for bladder cancer patients who continued smoking, 2.36-fold for lung cancer patients who continued smoking, and 2.31-fold for colorectal cancer patients who continued smoking.

“As far as we know, only a fraction of cancer patients who are smokers at diagnosis receive formal smoking-cessation counseling from their physicians or health care providers at the time of diagnosis and treatment, and less than half of these patients eventually quit smoking after the diagnosis,” said lead investigator Li Tao, MD, MS, PhD. “Therefore, there is considerable room for improvement with regard to tobacco control in the post-diagnosis setting for the growing population of cancer survivors.”

Tao and her colleagues used data from the Shanghai Cohort Study, which investigated the association between lifestyle characteristics and the risk of cancer among middle-aged and older men in Shanghai, China. A total of 18,244 men were enrolled in the study between 1986 and 1989.

Source: AACR; December 6, 2013.

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