Smoking After Cancer Diagnosis Increases Death Risk in Men

JANUARY 17, 2014
Men who continue to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer are significantly more likely to die than those who quit, according to a recent study conducted in China.

The study, published in the December 2013 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, evaluated the relationship between postdiagnosis smoking and the risk of all-cause mortality in 1632 men diagnosed with cancer. Data were collected from a large cohort study of men 45 to 64 years of age, starting between 1986 and 1989. Annual interviews were conducted to determine changes in smoking status.

Overall, 747 men were smokers at the time of their cancer diagnosis, and 336 continued to smoke occasionally, while 197 continued to smoke regularly after the diagnosis. Patients who continued to smoke after their diagnosis had a 59% increased risk of death compared with those who did not smoke after the diagnosis. This increased risk for death among postdiagnosis smokers varied depending on the type of cancer the men had; compared with patients who quit smoking, hazard ratios were 2.36 in patients with lung cancer, 1.63 with stomach cancer, 2.31 with colorectal cancer, and 2.95 with bladder cancer.

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