Smokers Suffer More Side Effects From Cancer Treatment

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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Radiation treatment for prostate cancer can go a lot smoother if the patient doesn't smoke.

According to researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, smokers end up with significantly worse side effects from the treatment than nonsmokers.

The study was conducted among nearly 1,200 men being treated with 3-D conformal radiation therapy. Investigators collected information on smoking habits and history and then monitored the men for gastrointestinal and genitourinary side effects.

"Our patients who smoked during treatment reported having more acute gastrointestinal side-effects such as diarrhea," reports lead study author Niraj Pahlajani, M.D.

The finding adds to growing scientific evidence showing smoking increases unwanted side effects from cancer treatment. Previous studies linked the habit to increased side effects from treatment for cancers of the head and neck, cervix, lung and breast.

In the current study, the side effects didn't appear to lead to long term problems, but the investigators believe the results point out yet another reason why people should not smoke.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Philadelphia, Nov. 5-9, 2006

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