Prognosis following colon cancer worse for smokers

Smokers were more likely to have a recurrence of their colon cancer or to die within three years than non-smokers, according to this study.

Researchers collected data on smoking from 1,968 people who were taking part in a chemotherapy clinical trial to investigate the relationship between smoking and disease free survival (time to recurrence of death.)

Of the study participants, 931 said they never smoked, while 1,028 said that they smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

Within three years, 70% of nonsmokers either died or had a recurrence compared to 74% of the smokers.

This translates into a 23% higher risk of death or recurrence among smokers.

Among people who were smoking when they were diagnosed with colon cancer the risk of recurrence or death increased by 47%.

Certain genetic variations further boosted the risk of recurrence and death among smokers.