Smoking affects breast cancer in a major cause for various health hazards. In a study conducted by the Collaborative Breast Cancer Study, it was found that breast cancer survivors who are smokers and continue smoking ever after their diagnosis are more likely to succumb to the disease than those breast cancer survivors who are non-smokers or have quit after being diagnosed with cancer. The smokers were more likely to die from respiratory disease, respiratory cancer, or cardiovascular disease.
The study was conducted by the University of Wisconsin, Dartmouth College, and Harvard University and involved more than 20,000 women aged between 20 and 79, who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1988 and 2008. This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and the results of the study suggested that not smoking or quitting smoking helps to boost cancer survival. Being one of the most elaborate studies, it compared the causes of death among 4 groups: non-smoking women, women who smoked but quit at least a year before diagnosis, smokers who quit after diagnosis and smokers who continued to smoke after diagnosis. It was observed that the highest death rates and risks were among the long-term smokers, heavy smokers, or former smokers. The study revealed that the likelihood of death risk due to respiratory cancer, respiratory disease, or cardiovascular disease was significantly lesser among women who quit smoking after their diagnosis as compared to those who continued smoking.
The noted co-author and a cancer epidemiologist, University of California, San Francisco Michael Passarelli said, “Our study shows the consequences facing both active and former smokers with a history of breast cancer. Women who quit smoking at the time of their diagnosis do better; they have better outcomes than women who continue to smoke after the diagnosis. About one in ten breast cancer survivors smoke after their diagnosis. For them, these results should provide additional motivation to quit.”