It is a known fact that smoking is injurious to health. However, majority of the world’s population don’t comply by the information and smoke, regardless. Now a new study has shown that women who have smoked for a long time might be more vulnerable to die if they foster breast cancer.
A Japanese research team led by Dr. Masaaki Kawai, a breast cancer specialist at Miyagi Cancer Center Hospital and the co-author of the study, monitored 848 women between 1997 and 2007. These women were newly diagnosed with breast cancer and were treated at Miyagi Cancer Center Hospital.
They found that women who smoked were diagnosed with breast cancer a lot younger than compared to women who didn’t smoke or quit smoking. The average diagnosis age of smokers was 49 while that of former smokers was 53 and of nonsmokers was 58.
They also found that those who smoked were more inclined to develop advanced tumors and weigh less compared to the other category of women in the study.
Kawai and team discovered that half of the women that they monitored for at least 7 years, suffered 170 deaths from all causes, but 132 deaths came from breast cancer.
The research found that almost one third of the women they monitored didn’t even go through menopause when they became part of the study. In this context, those women who had been a smoker for over about 21 years carried triple more chances of dying of any cause, and almost three and half times more chances of dying due to breast cancer compared to the women who never smoked.
302 patients (35.6 percent) were premenopausal, 495 patients (58.4 percent) were postmenopausal and menopausal condition was unknown for 51 patients (6 percent).
However, when the research team inspected if passive smoking among women whose husbands were former or current smokers, did any harm to them, they discovered no noticeable consequences on the women’s risk of mortality neither from other cause nor breast cancer, especially.
Contributing lesser years to smoking were also associated to an elevated risk of mortality from breast cancer, however the additional risk due was so negligible that the researchers thought it might have been due to chance.
Kawai told Reuters that unlike earlier studies that have studied the association between smoking and existence among breast cancer patients, their research in among the first to analyze the effect of the span of smoking on consequences for women who has been diagnosed with breast cancer tumors.
However, one shortcoming of the study is that it’s dependent on patients to provide the former with correct information and records of women becoming passive smokers from sources other than their husbands were also missing. The study also didn’t see if smoking causes breast cancer.
Nevertheless, Peggy Reynolds who is a researcher at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and Stanford University School of Medicine told Reuters that the research is another addition to all the previous researches that show how smoking elevates the risk in women with breast cancer.
Mia Gaudet who is the strategic director of breast and gynecologic research at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta also told Reuters although not all the evidence of Kawai and his team’s research is conclusive, it should still suffice to encourage patients to quit cigarettes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) almost 508,000 women died in 2011 due to breast cancer.
National Institutes of Health reported that about 1 in 9 women will subsequently develop breast cancer. They further stress that the risk of this disease increases with age, from 1 in 227 at age 30 to 1 in 26 by age 70. Reasons like obesity, sedentary behavior, consumption of alcohol or even early menstruation can elevate the risk.