Smoking Can Double Some Recurrent Cancer Risks

smoking_cancer_risksA new study on the effects of cigarette smoking has found that smokers diagnosed with one cancer are at increased risk for developing a new cancer in the future.

The recent study revealed that cancer survivors who had quit smoking had a lower risk of developing a second, new cancer when compared to smokers who continued to smoke, according to dailyRx. The research was conducted by Dr. Takahiro Tabuchi from the Center for Cancer Control and Statistics at Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases in Japan.

The study sought to determine if cancer survivors who had a history of smoking also had an increased risk for developing future cancers. The team reviewed 29,795 patients in Japan who had been initially diagnosed with cancer between 1985 and 2004, according to dailyRx. The team examined patient records until year-end 2006 for another cancer diagnosis at the primary site.

When a second diagnosis of cancer occurs at a primary site that means, explained dailyRx, that the patient developed a new cancer not due to spread or recurrence of the first cancer. Those with a history of smoking had a 59 percent increased risk of developing another primary cancer when compared to people who never smoked; people who had smoked had a 102 percent increased risk of developing a smoking-related primary cancer when compared to non-smokers.

When compared to non-smoking cancer survivors, cancer survivors who had ever smoked experienced a significantly increased risk of developing oral, esophageal, stomach, lung, and blood cancers at a primary site, no matter in what location the first cancer occurred, according to dailyRx.

Overall, smoking increased risks for first cancers and second cancers that are not always related to the first cancer, the researchers concluded, according to dailyRx. Also, cancer survivors who quit smoking for about three years prior to diagnosis saw decreased risks for developing second cancers when compared to those who continued smoking.

The authors noted some limitations—how much participants smoked and any actions at cancer prevention in patients who quit smoking; however, Fred Hirsch, MD, PhD, dailyRx Contributing Expert and Professor of Medicine and Pathology and Associate Director for International Programs at the University of Colorado Cancer Center said, “The study is retrospective with several limitations but it gives a clear message about the risk of smoking among cancer survivors. Not surprisingly, the study showed a significant increased risk for a secondary cancer in smokers. However, more interesting is the result that recent quitters had 18 percent less risk for developing all subsequent primary cancers than current smokers, so smoking cessation is important also for cancer survivors.”

Dr. Hirsch recommended that “A smoking cessation program should be implemented among cancer survivors who smoke, and the patients should be carefully informed about the higher risk for a secondary cancer if they continue smoking.” Study results were published online on July 25 in the Annals of Oncology.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America, linked to 443,000 deaths and $100 billion spent in healthcare costs annually. Second-hand smoke has been linked to a variety of health issues; contains over 4,000 substances, including over 50 known or suspected carcinogens; and is linked to many diseases in adults and children, such as sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, asthma, coronary heart disease, lung and sinus cancers, sinus problems, mental problems, and hearing loss.

Smoking has also recently been linked to colorectal cancer, creating damage in the body just minutes after inhaling for the first time, increasing risks for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and significantly increasing arterial stiffness in people as young as 18 to 30.

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