Prostate cancer patients who smoke might be increasing their risk of having their cancer return in the future or possibly dying from prostate cancer, a new study revealed.
The study, published online Jan. 27 in BJU International showed that smoking could double a patient’s chances of having their cancer spread and interfere with treatment. Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center looked at 2,156 patients who received external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer between 1998 and 2005, according to a report on the Memorial Sloan Kettering website. Dividing the patients into two groups — smokers and non-smokers, researchers investigated how frequently the patients had a biochemical relapse 10 years after starting external beam radiation therapy.
The study found that patients who were smokers had a significantly higher risk of experiencing rising prostate specific antigen in their blood, suggesting their cancer might be returning, the MSK report said.
The link between increased risk of having prostate cancer return and smoking could be because smoking reduces oxygen concentration within the treated tumors, study author and MSK radiation oncologist Michael Zelefsky said in the report.
“This is known to lead to less sensitivity of the cells being killed off by the radiation treatments,” said Zelefsky, who also said quitting smoking was the best strategy to prevent prostate cancer from returning. “Healthcare providers are in a position to address tobacco habits effectively as part of clinical care.”[pullquote]“Healthcare providers are in a position to address tobacco habits effectively as part of clinical care.”[/pullquote]
According to the American Cancer Society, about 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer are expected to occur in the U.S. in 2015. About 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer are expected this year. Men have a one in seven chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men, the ACS reported, with about six in 10 cases being diagnosed in men 65 years and older.
The MSK report points out that the National Cancer Institute has called for reforms that would improve quality of care for tobacco-dependent cancer patients. Those reforms would include a uniform approach to assess smoking status, refining electronic medical records and clinical trials to identify smokers and looking at ways to overcome The recommended changes include a uniform approach for assessing smoking status, refining electronic medical records and clinical trials to identify and target smokers, and evaluating ways to overcome obstacles to quitting, according to MSK.
For more information on the study, click here.