A new breast cancer study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's 9th Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research examined the relationship between smoking and mortality in nearly 2,300 women diagnosed with breast cancer between the years 1997 and 2000. The breast cancer researchers assessed death from breast cancer and death from non-breast cancer causes in addition to differences in other characteristics. After 9 years of follow up, the breast cancer researchers reported that
Current or past smokers had a 39% higher rate of death from breast cancer compared to women who never smoked.
Current or past smokers also were two times as likely to die from non-breast cancer causes compared to women who never smoked.
The negative effect of smoking on breast cancer survival was greater in women with HER2-negative breast cancer (61% greater risk) and in postmenopausal women (47% greater risk).
This new breast cancer study continues to show us the negative health consequences of smoking tobacco. While previous studies have clearly shown that smoking can increase a person's odds of getting breast cancer, this new study shows that smokers who do develop breast cancer are at a much higher risk for dying from breast cancer as well as from other non-breast cancer causes. This clearly suggests that quitting smoking should be an important part of the breast cancer survival strategy of breast cancer patients who smoke. In addition to the numerous other health benefits linked with giving up smoking, the results of this study indicate that quitting will improve a breast cancer patients chances of long-term survival.
Study Reference: Braithwaite D, et al. Smoking and survival after breast cancer diagnosis: role of molecular subtype, body mass index, and menopausal status. AACR 9th Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, November 7-10, 2010, Philadelphia, PA. Poster Session B, Abstract B88.