Posts Tagged ‘smoking’

Can Smoking Interfere with Breast Cancer Treatment?

Friday, June 24th, 2016


Logos 005New research published in the British Journal of Cancer  concluded that common treatment for breast cancer works less well in patients who smoke, compared to non-smokers. The study followed 1,016 breast cancer patients in southern Sweden diagnosed between 2002 and 2012. At the time of surgery they were asked whether they were smokers or non-smokers and about one in five said they were a regular smoker or social smoker. The impact of smoking was evaluated based upon type of breast cancer treatment received after surgery.

Results showed that women over age 50 treated with aromatase inhibitors, were affected by smoking. The aromatase treatment prevents the body from generating estrogen in fatty tissue and thereby reduces the risk of recurrence in women with estrogen-receptive positive breast cancer. This treatment worked significantly better in non-smokers. Researchers said “Smokers who were treated with aromatase inhibitors had a three times higher risk of recurrence of breast cancer compared with the non-smokers who got the same treatment.” They also found that “the smokers also had an increased risk of dying, either from the breast cancer or from other illnesses, during the time we followed them.”

However, the researchers found little or no difference between smokers and non-smokers treated with the drug tamoxifen, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy. Despite telling patients of the importance of stopping smoking only ten perce of the 206 smokers stopped in the first year after surgery. Researchers said the number of smokers who stopper was too small to determine if that made a difference in their future risk. More research is needed.

Should Medicare Cover Lung Cancer Screening?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014


logo1267406_mdA recent study to be published in  the Annals of Internal Medicine and reported by Science Digest concluded that medicare beneficiaries should not be excluded from screening. In the study researchers analyzed the benefits and harm of screening by age and found that even though smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer there was a reduction in lung cancer mortality in high risk populations who were randomly assigned to low-dose computed topography (LDCT) verses chest radiography. Age was found to be the most important factor for lung cancer following smoking. Subsequently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended annual lung cancer screening with LDCT for people aged 55 to 80 who had ever smoked.

A second study of the data compared screening outcomes among Medicare-eligible people with those under the age of 65. Findings showed that both cancer prevalence and positive predictive value of lung cancer screening with LDCT were higher in the 65 plus group than in the under 65 group.  Researchers recommend sharing the age related findings with data with those in the high risk group (smoking and age factors).

Does the Combination of Asbestos Exposure, Asbestosis, and Smoking Increase the Risk of Lung Cancer?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

logo1267406_mdIn an online publication of The American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care medicine researchers concluded that the chances of developing lung cancer associated with exposure to asbestos, asbestosis, and smoking are dramatically increased when these three risk factors are combined, and smoking cessation significantly reduces the risk of developing lung cancer after long term asbestos exposure. Researchers said “In our study of a large cohort of asbestos-exposed insulators and more than 50,000 non-exposed controls, we found that each individual risk factor was associated with increased risk of developing lung cancer, while the combination of all three risk factors increased the risk of developing lung cancer almost 37-fold.” Results showed that in non-smokers asbestos exposure increased the risk of dying from lung cancer 5.2 fold, while the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure increased the death rate more than 28-fold and asbestosis increased the risk of developing lung cancer among asbestos-exposed subjects in both smokers and non-smokers, with the death rate from lung cancer increasing 36.8-fold among asbestos-exposed smokers with asbestosis. In addition, among insulators who quit smoking, lung cancer rates dropped in the ten years following smoking cessation from 177 deaths per 10,000 among current smokers to 90 per 10,000  among those who quit. The lung cancer rates among those who quit more than 30 years earlier were similar to those who never smoked.


Can Lifestyle Factors Reduce the Risk of Esophageal Cancer?

Friday, April 12th, 2013

logo1267406_mdRecent news from the Seattle Barrett’s Esophagus Program  at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in collaboration with Brigham & Women’s College and the University of California in San Francisco have shown that a systematic approach to early  cancer detection can boost five-year survival rates from about 15 percent to more than 80 percent. They  have also shown that modifiable lifestyle factors-from reducing obesity to quitting smoking–may also prevent progression of Barrett’s esophagus to esophageal cancer. Some of the ways to prevent this condition from progressing to esophageal cancer were identified and follow.

Earlier research in 2007 reported that people with the more aggressive form of Barrett’s may benefit gfrom preventive therapy with aspirin or other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Following Barrett’s patients over time they identified a cluster of 4 known cancer bio markers  in this group that increased their risk of developing esophageal cancer. They found that subjects with 3 or more of these bio markers who also used aspirin or other no0nsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s)  had a 30 % chance of developing esophageal cancer after 10 years whereas those who did not use the aspirin had a 79% change of developing cancer with a decade. They believe aspirin and other non-steroidal inflammatory drugs may fight cancer by reducing chronic  inflammation. However, because this was a long term observational study and not a clinical trial they cannot recommend aspirin for people with Barrett’s and also advise that anyone wh uses them do so under medical direction because of the side effects such as g.i. bleeding.

Another study looked at Barrett’s and statin drugs for lowering cholesterol and found that various combinations of statin and/or NSAID’s used by patients with Barrett’s and and high grade dysplasia had a reduced risk of esophageal cancer when compared with those who did not use these drugs.

This year they lo0ked at lifestyle and esophageal cancer and found that heavy smokers with Barrett’s were more than twice as likely to develop esophageal cancer than non-smokers with Barrett’s. They also found that obesity especially belly fat, was more strongly associated with the progression of Barrett’s to esophageal cancer.

They also offered suggestions for managing the symptoms of chronic acid reflux that is a risk factor for Barrett’s. These included smoking cessation, keeping weight down, getting regular exercise, eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, refrain from eating four hours before retiring, elevate the head of your bed if you have heart burn, and take antacids for occasional heartburn and see you doctor if you have frequent heartburn or if over the counter medications do not help.

Can the Risk of Lung and Oral Cancer Be Increased if You Smoke Immediately Upon Waking?

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

logo1267406_mdNew research published in the Journal, Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention concluded that the sooner a person smokes upon waking in the morning the more likely he/she will have lung or oral cancer. Researchers reported that “smokers who consumed cigarettes immediately after waking have higher levels of NNAL-a metabolite of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK–in their blood than smokers who refrain from smoking a half hour or more after waking, regardless of how many cigarettes they smoke per day.”  Previous research has shown that NNK induces lung cancer in rodents and  therefore can predict lung cancer in rodents and humans. Also, he said NNAL levels are stable in smokers over time, and a single measurement can accurately reflect a persons exposure.

Data on 1,945 smoking adult participants was examined who provided urine samples for analysis of NNAL, and  history of smoking behavior including how soon after waking they smoked. Findings showed that 32% smoked their first cigarette within 5 minutes of waking; 31% smoked within 6 to 30 minutes; 18% smoked within 31 to 60 minutes after waking and 19% smoked more than an hour after waking. The NNAL level in the participants blood was correlated with their age, the age they started smoking, their gender, and whether or not another smoker lived in the house.  Researchers concluded “Most importantly, we found that NNAL level was highest among people who smoked the soonest upon waking, regardless of the frequency of smoking and other factors that predict NNAL concentrations.” They also said “We believe these people who smoke sooner after waking inhale more deeply and more thoroughly, which could explain the higher levels of NNAL in their blood, as well as their higher risk of developing oral or lung cancer.”

Interviews with Dr Jacob Teitelbaum (Fibromalgia, CFS, Alzheimers) and Kristin Mallon (Midwifery) Now Available for Listening.

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Guests on the show yesterday were Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum (left) and Kristin mallon (right).

Dr Teitelbaum is one of the leading authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and has written best selling books, appeared on major radio and television programs and spoken internationally. More information is available at:

Kristin Mallon is a certified nurse midwife with a masters in nursing and is in private practice in northern new Jersey and is a published author and breastfeeding counselor. More information is available at:

Enjoy the interview below:

Will Smoking Cessation Reduce Mortality At An Older Age?

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

A report in the June 11 issue of the  Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that smoking is linked to increased mortality in older patients and smoking cessation is associated with reduced mortality in this population. Researchers said “We provide a thorough review and mega-analysis of studies assessing the impact of smoking on all-cause mortality in people 60 years and older, paying particular attention to the strength of the association by age, the impact of smoking cessation at older age, and factors that might specifically affect results of epidemiological studies on the impact of smoking in an older population.”

Seventeen studies from seven countries were selected that were published between 1987 and 2011. Follow up time in the studies ranged from 3 to 50 years and the size of study populations ranged from 863 to 877,243.  The researchers found an 83% increased relative mortality for current smokers and a 34% increased relative mortality for former smokers compared to those who never smoked. The authors said “In this review and mega-analysis on the association of smoking and an all-cause mortality at older age, current and former smokers showed an approximately 2-fold and 1.3 -fold risk for mortality, respectively.” “This review and mega-analysis demonstrates that the relative risk for death notably decreases with time since smoking cessation even in older age.”

Will Eating More Fruit and Vegetables Assist in Smoking Cessation?

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

A new study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research concluded  that eating more fruit and vegetables may help one quit smoking and stay tobacco-free longer. Researchers surveyed 1,000 smokers ages 25 and older from around the United States using random-digit dialing telephone interviews. A follow up interview was carried out 14 months later to determine if they had abstained from tobacco use the preceding month. The researchers had previously determined smokers who abstinened from cigarettes for less than 6 months consumed more fruit and vegetables than those still smoking.  What they did not know was whether recent quitters increased their consumption of fruit and vegetables or if those eating more fruit and vegetables were more likely to quit smoking.

In this study they found that smokers who consumed the most fruit and vegetables were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days at follow-up 14 months later than those who ate the least amount of fruit and vegetables.  Adjusting for variables of age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, household income, and health orientation did not influence the findings.

They also found that those eating the highest amount of fruit and vegetables smoked fewer cigarettes daily, waiter longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day, and scored lower on the common test for nicotine dependence. Researchers said ” It’s possible that an improved diet could be an important item to be added to the list of measures to help smokers quit.”

Does Smoking Increase the Risk of Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

In a recent study published in Cancer Causes Control researchers concluded that women with non-melanoma skin cancers were more likely to have smoked cigarettes than women without skin cancer. In the study researchers evaluated the relationship between cigarette smoking and non-melanoma skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Smoking histories were compared between subjects diagnosed with BCC and/or SCC and controls who were screened for skin cancer but were not diagnosed nor had a history of skin cancer.
There were 689 subjects (383 with skin cancer and 315 controls and 355 men and 343 women and all were white) in the study and questions were asked about years of smoking, how many cigarettes daily, and when those who once smoked had quit as part of the assessment. Results were stratified by sex and showed that smoking was associated with non-melanoma skin cancer overall, and that the risk increased by number of cigarettes daily, total years of smoking and pack-year smoked. Associations were especially strong for SCC in women which was more than two times as likely in those who had smoked for 20 or more years compared to the controls.
Among men there were positive associations between smoking and BCC and SCC but none were statistically significant. “However, among women, smoking was not associated with BCC, while highly statistically significant associations were observed for SCC. Women with SCC were almost two times more likely to have smoked 20 years or more. Men who had BCC were significantly more likely to have smoked for at least 20 years than men without cancer. A;though the study did find an association between smoking and skin cancer it did not prove a cause and effect. More research is needed.

Risk of Cancer Increased by Smoking Soon After Waking

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011


A recent study published in online Cancer: Journal of the American Cancer Association concluded that smokers who smoke their first cigarette shortly after they wake up in the morning may have a higher risk of lung and head and neck cancers than those who smoke later.
The study included 4,775 lung cancer cases and 2,835 controls and all were regular smokers. Those smoking 31 to 60 minutes after waking were 1.31 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who smoked more than 60 minutes after waking. In addition, those who smoked within 30 minutes after waking were 1.79 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
The researchers also analyzed 1,055 head and neck cancer cases and 795 controls who had a history of smoking. Individuals who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking 1.42 times more likely to develop head and neck cancer than those who smoked more than 60 minutes after waking. In addition, those who smoked within 30 minutes were 1.59 times more likely to develop head and neck cancer. Thus, the researchers concluded that the need to smoke immediately after waking in the morning may increase a smokers chances of getting cancer.