Smoking may increase risk of death from prostate cancer

Current smokers who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are at a greater risk of dying than non-smokers, according to new research.

The researchers looked at a group of men to consider whether or not smoking is related to death from prostate cancer or recurrence of the disease. Previous research has suggested that men who smoke are likely to have more advanced prostate cancer when they are diagnosed compared with men who have never smoked. However, there has been no conclusive evidence to show that smoking increases the risk of dying from prostate cancer.

The researchers found that fewer men who had never smoked died as a result of prostate cancer within five and 10 years of being diagnosed with the disease compared with those who were current smokers. A similar pattern was seen for recurrence of prostate cancer with it being more likely in men who were smokers compared with non-smokers and those who had given up more than 10 years before diagnosis. The researchers also found that in comparison with men who had never smoked, current smokers’ cancers were more advanced when they were diagnosed, supporting what was already known.

Dr Peter Mace of Bupa says, "Although the differences seen in this study are small, they add yet more weight to the already huge body of evidence that shows how harmful smoking is for your health. It may not be the most important risk factor when it comes to prostate cancer, but smoking may influence other damaging lifestyle habits that do have a greater effect. However, the good news from this research is that it emphasises how beneficial stopping smoking can be. According to this study, after 10 years of not smoking, former smokers have a similar chance of surviving prostate cancer as men who have never smoked. And that in addition to the numerous other health advantages that giving up smoking brings such as a reduced risk of having a heart attack or developing lung cancer.”


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