Men who are smokers at the time they are diagnosed with prostate cancer have higher risks of poorer outcomes. Smokers are more likely to have a more aggressive form of the disease, see the cancer return after treatment and die from it.
"Smoking increases risk of dying from prostate cancer."
While mounting evidence has supported an association between tobacco and prostate cancer recurrence and death, few studies have been conducted to measure the relationship.
That's why Stacey A. Kenfield, Sc.D. of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues designed a study to assess and examine how smoking and quitting smoking impacts mortality. Specifically, the study examined the association between smoking and deaths due to prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The team also looked at how smoking affected biochemical recurrence (return) of prostate cancer.
This study examined data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and included 5,366 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986 and 2006.
Of the 1,630 deaths, researchers found that 32 percent were due to prostate cancer and 26 percent were the result of CVD. Additionally, there were 878 biochemical recurrences of prostate cancer.
Researchers found that compared to men who had never smoked, current smokers were at greater risk of dying specifically from prostate cancer, CVD and all other causes. These men also had an increased risk of the prostate cancer returning.
The study also found that the more years and more packs a man had smoked, the greater his total mortality risks. There was no link between of so-called "pack-years" and cancer recurrence.
Men who had quit smoking 10 or more years had prostate cancer mortality risks similar to men who had never smoked.
The authors write that it's possible and plausible that there is direct effect of smoking on prostate cancer progression.
These results provide further evidence that smoking may increase risk of death from prostate cancer, the authors conclude.
The study was was published in the June 22/29, 2011 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.