Smoking Can Be Lethal to Breast Cancer Patients

Kicking the habit can lengthen life for those treated with lumpectomies, radiation

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MONDAY, Oct. 20, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Kicking the smoking habit can extend the lives of breast cancer patients who've been treated with lumpectomies and radiation, says a study by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

The study included 1,039 breast cancer patients, smokers and nonsmokers, treated with lumpectomies and radiation at Fox Chase from March 1970 to December 2002. Median follow-up of the patients was 67 months.

The researchers compared overall survival rates and deaths from breast cancer among the smokers and nonsmokers.

"This analysis shows that smoking, either past or present, was associated with increases in distant metastases and deaths from breast cancer," Fox Chase radiation oncologist Dr. Khanh H. Nguyen says in a prepared statement.

"Even after we adjusted for different prognostic factors, those who continued to smoke during treatment did not live as long as those who had stopped. Our study suggests that smoking cessation remains an integral component in the comprehensive management of breast cancer," Nguyen says.

The study was presented Oct. 20 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology Oncology in Salt Lake City.

More information

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SOURCE: Fox Chase Cancer Center, news release, Oct. 20, 2003

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