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Smoking May Make Return of Lung Cancer More Likely

Study found chance of recurrence rose 1 percent for each additional pack of cigarettes smoked each year

TUESDAY, May 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Lung cancer survivors are at high risk for recurrence of the disease, and smoking is a major factor in that risk, a new study shows.

The study included 192 lung cancer survivors in the United States who were followed for an average of more than eight years. During the follow-up period, 38 percent developed lung cancer.

One of the strongest factors associated with lung cancer recurrence was smoking. For each additional pack of cigarettes smoked per year, there was a 1 percent increase in a survivor's risk of developing lung cancer again.

The study was to be presented Tuesday at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting in Denver. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"We looked closely at risk factors that may help in predicting cancer recurrence in lung cancer survivors," study author Dr. Samjot Dhillon said in a society news release. "What we learned is that patients with a history of lung cancer should have close long-term surveillance so their doctor can detect early on if the cancer is recurring or if there is another cancer developing," he said.

"Along with close medical surveillance for lung cancer recurrence, it is also important for patients to stop smoking as soon as possible since this is a known risk. Every additional pack per year of smoking is associated with further increased risk of cancer recurrence," added Dhillon, of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.

It's estimated that more than 158,000 Americans will die from lung cancer in 2015, making it the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about lung cancer.

SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, May 19, 2015
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