A just-released study about smoking and prostate cancer gives men one more reason to quit. The study says that smokers who are diagnosed with prostate cancer may have an increased risk of dying from the disease compared to non-smokers. They also have an increased risk of the cancer coming back.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston studied 5,366 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986 and 2006. Five years after diagnosis, 94.8% of men who had never smoked had not died of their prostate cancer, compared with 91.7% of current smokers.
The study, called "Smoking and Prostate Cancer Survival and Recurrence, is published in the June 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Durado D. Brooks, MD, American Cancer Society director of prostate and colorectal cancer, says this study is significant because it’s the largest study of its kind to show links between smoking and the likelihood of dying from prostate cancer.
It also takes into account several factors associated with negative outcomes of prostate cancer, including Gleason score (a measure of how likely the cancer is to grow quickly) and the stage of cancer at diagnosis. Previous studies have shown a link between smoking and being diagnosed at a later stage, and the new study accounted for that.
Brooks says this suggests something about cigarettes themselves, and not just the men’s behavior, is causing the increased risk of prostate cancer death.
The study also showed that men who had quit smoking at least 10 years before their diagnosis had prostate cancer death risks similar to men who had never smoked. Brooks says this means it’s never too late to quit. "Never smoke. Don’t start. If you smoke, quit now. It’s never too late."