Tobacco smoking and the risk of subsequent primary cancer among cancer survivors: a retrospective cohort study

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BackgroundSmoking is a well-known risk factor for cancer; however, there is little evidence as to whether the smoking status of cancer survivors has any risk for subsequent primary cancer (SPC) incidence, regardless of the first cancer sites.Patients and methodsIn total, 29 795 eligible patients with a first cancer between 1985 and 2004 were examined for SPC until the end of 2006, using a record linkage between hospital-based and population-based cancer registries. The association between smoking at the time of the first cancer diagnosis and three SPC groups (i.e. specific SPC, smoking-related SPCs, and all SPCs) was calculated by Poisson regression.ResultsEver smokers had 59% and 102% higher risk for all SPCs and smoking-related SPCs, respectively, than never smokers. Cancer survivors who had recently stopped smoking had 18% and 26% less risk, respectively, for these SPCs than those who smoked at the diagnosis. We also found that, compared with those who had never smoked, cancer survivors who had ever smoked had a significantly elevated risk of oral/pharyngeal, esophageal, stomach, lung, and hematological SPCs, regardless of the first cancer sites.ConclusionsThese findings indicate that smoking increases not only the first cancer but also a second or SPC. Moreover, the results from recent quitters versus current smokers suggest that smoking cessation may decrease the risk for SPC, especially for smoking-related SPCs in cancer survivors. Preventive measures are necessary to reduce not only SPC incidence but also tobacco use.

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