AACR Logo Most individuals may be aware about the hazardous effects of smoking to various cancers. Apart from elevating risk of lung cancer, smoking also increases chances of being diagnosed with neck and head cancer. According to a recent study, current smoker or having a history of smoking dramatically raises the threat of breast cancer progression and overall death. The findings were ascertained after evaluating a group of multi-ethnic women suffering from breast cancer.

2,265 multi-ethnic women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1997 and 2000 were included in the study and followed for an average of nine years. 164 deaths from breast cancer and 120 deaths due to non-breast cancer causes took place during the follow-up. Such women either had a history of smoking or were current smokers and shared a twofold heightened risk of death due to non-breast cancer related causes. Throughout the study, authors focused on analyzing the relationship between smoking and risk of death due to breast cancer progression or non-breast cancer causes of death.

Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D., assistant professor, division of cancer epidemiology, department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, alleged, “Specifically, it is unclear how long women live following breast cancer diagnosis and whether smoking increases the risk of death because of breast cancer progression or whether there is an association between smoking and life expectancy following breast cancer diagnosis that works through affecting non-breast cancer causes of death.”

A 39 percent greater rate of dying from breast cancer was supposedly faced by women who are current smokers or have a past of smoking. The results were noted after taking clinical, socioeconomic and behavioral factors into consideration. During the study, BMI, molecular breast cancer subtype or menopausal status modified risk was examined. Women who were current or past smokers with a HER2-negative tumor subtype possibly had a 61 percent heightened risk from breast cancer death as compared to those who never smoked. Smokers with a BMI less than 25 kg/m2 supposedly had an 83 percent increased risk for breast cancer death. On the other hand, postmenopausal women had a 47 percent elevated risk for breast cancer death than those who never smoked.

The study is presented at the Ninth Annual AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held November 7-10, 2010.