For Breast Cancer Patients, Never Too Late To Quit Smoking
Documenting that it's never too late to quit smoking, a large study of breast cancer survivors has found that those who quit smoking after their diagnosis had a 33 percent lower risk of death as a result of breast cancer than those who continued to smoke.
The study involved more than 20,600 women with breast cancer, and is one of the largest studies of survival outcomes according to smoking habits in women with a history of breast cancer, and the first study to assess smoking habits both before and after diagnosis.
The paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"Our study shows the consequences facing both active and former smokers with a history of breast cancer," said first author Michael Passarelli, PhD, a cancer epidemiologist at the UCSF School of Medicine. "About one in ten breast cancer survivors smoke after their diagnosis. For them, these results should provide additional motivation to quit."
The findings come from the Collaborative Breast Cancer Study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin, Dartmouth College and Harvard University.
The observational study quantifies among women with breast cancer the long-term benefits of stopping smoking. The study, which followed participants on average a dozen years after diagnosis, compares the causes of death among four groups:
• Women who never smoked;
• Women who smoked and quit before diagnosis;
• Women who smoked and quit after diagnosis;
• Women who continued to smoke after diagnosis.