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Childhood Cancer Survivors Less Likely to Smoke

Smoking prevalence found to vary by cancer subgroup

WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- English childhood cancer survivors are significantly less likely to smoke than the general British population, according to an article published online July 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Clare Frobisher, Ph.D., of the University of Birmingham in England and colleagues examined the prevalence of cigarette smoking, factors associated with smoking and age at initiation of regular smoking among 10,326 childhood cancer survivors. They used data from the British Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and compared results with those of the general population by using the 2002 General Household Survey.

Among childhood cancer survivors, 20 percent and 29.8 percent were current or ever regular smokers, respectively, compared with 28.1 percent and 48.8 percent in the general population. Survivors of Hodgkin's lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma or Wilms' tumor were more likely to be regular smokers than survivors of other types of childhood cancer. Patients diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 10 and 14 had the highest rate of smoking initiation.

"In conclusion, although the extent of smoking among survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed in Britain between 1940 and 1991 was less than that seen in the comparable general population, levels of smoking prevalence among survivors should be reduced further, particularly among survivors of Wilms tumor, Hodgkin lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcoma," the authors write.

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