Smoking Cuts Chances Against Head, Neck Cancers

Survival odds drop when there's a history of lighting up

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FRIDAY, Oct. 1, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Smoking greatly reduces the chances of survival for people with head and neck cancer, says new research in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study of more than 500 people with head and neck cancer found that those who smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime were three times more likely to have better overall survival, disease-specific survival, and recurrence-free survival than people with a current or previous history of regular smoking.

"These findings support previous studies indicating that molecular differences exist between the tumors of smokers and nonsmokers and may actually reflect two separate types of head and neck cancer," study author Dr. Erich M. Sturgis, of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, said in a prepared statement.

"Our study suggests that the changes that occur in smokers may lead to a more aggressive form of the disease that results in poorer survival," Sturgis said.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about head and neck cancer.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, news release, Oct. 1, 2004

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