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Prostate cancer warning for smokers

07 July 2015 08:46

Researchers say smoking raises the chances of prostate cancer recurring

Researchers say smoking raises the chances of prostate cancer recurring

Men who smoke are nearly twice as likely to see their cancer return after having their prostate gland removed as non-smokers, according to new research.

Experts looked at the records of more than 7,000 men in Austria and the US who underwent prostate surgery.

They found that in the 28 months after surgery those who smoked had an 80% higher chance of their cancer returning than those who had never done so.

Former smokers 'still at risk'

Those who had kicked their tobacco habit were found to have a 63% higher risk. But for men who had given up for 10 years or more before their surgery, the risk was the same as for those who had never smoked.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among UK men. Some 41,000 men a year are diagnosed with the disease, which claims around 11,000 lives annually.

But many men make a recovery after having their prostate removed, and having the disease does not have to rule out things like holidays abroad, thanks to cancer travel insurance policies.

Previous studies have shown that smokers have a higher chance of dying from prostate cancer.

Some have suggested a link between tobacco use and the development of prostate cancer, although more recent ones have indicated no connection.

'Tell patients about smoking dangers'

But the findings of the new study add weight to the argument of those who believe there is a link between the disease and smoking.

Professor Shahrokh Shariat, of the University Clinic of Urology at Vienna's MedUni, led the research. He says the findings reinforce the importance of telling patients with prostate cancer about the harm smoking can do.

And he adds that the study shows that it is never too late to stop smoking, even if someone has already been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

'More research required'

But Professor Shariat adds that more research is needed to provide answers to the many still unanswered questions about smoking and prostate cancer.

The study, which excluded men whose cancer was shown to have already spread when they were diagnosed, is published in the European Urology journal.

None of the 7,191 men studied had been given chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or pre-operative radiotherapy.