Smoking, Prostate Cancer a Deadly Mix

But risk drops for men who have given up tobacco for 10 years, study finds

TUESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to have the cancer recur after treatment and are more likely to die than non-smokers, a new study says.

The study included 5,366 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986 and 2006. There were 1,630 deaths in this group of men, including 524 (32 percent) from prostate cancer and 416 (26 percent) from cardiovascular disease. There were 878 cases of prostate cancer "biochemical recurrence," the researchers said.

Compared with non-smokers, smokers had an increased risk of biochemical recurrence and were more likely to die from prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease and all causes. A greater number of cigarette pack-years was associated with an increased risk of death from prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease and all causes, but was not linked with biochemical recurrence, the researchers said.

The risk of death from prostate cancer for men who had quit smoking for 10 or more years was similar to that of men who never smoked.

The study appears in the June 22-29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"In summary, smoking at the time of diagnosis was associated with substantially increased overall mortality and prostate cancer mortality and recurrence. Ten-year quitters had risks similar to never smokers," lead researcher Stacey A. Kenfield, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues wrote in a Harvard news release.

"These results provide further support that smoking may increase risk of death from prostate cancer," the study authors concluded.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Harvard University, news release, June 21, 2011

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