Smoking Makes Cancer Worse

Smoking increases the risk of developing advanced kidney cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Smoking not only hurts your lungs but also your kidneys. People who smoke raise their risk of kidney cancer, and those who keep smoking may be making the cancer worse.

Researchers not only found that smoking increases the risk for kidney cancer, but also that heavier smoking can increase the chance of getting a more aggressive form of the cancer. However, patients who quit smoking can reduce their risk of aggressive kidney cancer.

"Smoking makes kidney cancer worse."

In order to study the relationship between smoking and renal cell carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer), Thomas J. Polascik and his colleagues from Duke University Medical Center looked at data from 845 people who had undergone surgery for kidney cancer. The patients reported their own smoking history.

Of all the things that put people at risk for kidney cancer, smoking is one of the few that an individual can change. For this reason, the authors write, it is important for kidney cancer patients to quit smoking.

These findings also add to the huge list of reasons that people should not smoke.

In Depth

The researchers found:

  • Of all the patients, 19.4 percent were current smokers and 29.1 percent used to smoke. Almost 25 percent of the study's participants had advanced renal cell carcinoma.
  • Current smokers were 1.5 times more likely to develop advanced renal cell carcinoma
  • Former smokers were 1.6 times more likely to develop advanced renal cell carcinoma
  • Heavier smoking - or smoking for a longer period of time and more frequently - was linked to a greater risk of advanced renal cell carcinoma
  • Quitting smoking reduced the risk of advanced renal cell carcinoma 
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Review Date: 
April 25, 2011
Last Updated:
April 27, 2011