Study: Smoking after cancer diagnosis may increase risk of dying

Male cancer patients who continue to smoke after their diagnoses are at an increased risk of dying, compared to those patients who quit, according to a new study. The extent of that risk varied by cancer type. 

Using data from the Shanghai Cohort Study, researchers examined the role of tobacco use in cancer survival post-diagnosis. After taking into account age, type of cancer and course of treatment, men who smoked cigarettes after they were diagnosed had a 59 percent increased risk of death from all causes. Men who were already smokers and continued to smoke had a 76 percent increased risk of dying.

The Shanghai Cohort Study investigated the association between lifestyle characteristics and cancer risk among men in Shanghai, China. Between 1986 and 1989, more than 18,000 men between the ages of 45 to 64 years were enrolled in the study and completed an in-person interview on demographics, lifestyle and medical history. Data have been updated on an annual basis.

The findings underscore the importance of tobacco cessation interventions for cancer patients.

The study was published in this month’s issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.