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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Smoking During Head & Neck Cancer Radiation Therapy Contribute to Poor Outcome

Patients with head and neck cancer who continue to smoke while receiving radiation treatments have a much lower long-term survival rate than those who do not smoke, according to a new study. The study was published in the February 2011 issue of the International Journal ofRadiation Oncology/Biology/Physics.

In the study of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, 23 % of 101 patients who continued to smoke were still alive five years after treatment, compared with 55 percent of patients who quit smoking before they began radiation treatment.
Furthermore, 53 of the patients who continued to smoke suffered cancer recurrence, as compared with 40 patients in those who stopped smoking. Those who kept smoking also experienced more treatment-related complications such as the hoarseness,difficulty in eating and scar formation.

The poorer long tern outcomes for persistent smokers were found both in those who had radiation alone and in those who also had surgery prior to radiation.