Ex­tra breast can­cer care risk for smok­ers

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Radiotherapy for breast can­cer is much more likely to trig­ger fa­tal lung can­cer or heart at­tacks in smok­ers, a study has found.

Women who smoke are 10 times more likely to die from the con­di­tions than non-smok­ers given the same treat­ment, the re­search shows.

For non-smok­ers, the long-term risk of dy­ing from lung can­cer or a heart at­tack as a re­sult of un­der­go­ing breast can­cer radiotherapy is just 0.5%.

But for smok­ers, the risk level in­creases to 5%, in­ves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered.

Dr Carolyn Tay­lor, ra­di­a­tion on­col­o­gist and lead au­thor from the Univer­sity of Ox­ford, said: “For non­smok­ers, the ab­so­lute risk of death from the side ef­fects of mod­ern radiotherapy is only about 0.5%, which is much less than the ben­e­fit.

“But for smok­ers, the risk is about 5%, which is com­pa­ra­ble with the ben­e­fit.

“Stop­ping smok­ing at the time of radiotherapy will avoid most of the lung can­cer and heart dis­ease risk from radiotherapy, and has many other ben­e­fits.”

Th­ese find­ings are from the Early Breast Can­cer Tri­al­ists’ Col­lab­o­ra­tive Group study, which looked at the risks of radiotherapy in 40,781 women world­wide.

Radiotherapy is an im­por­tant treat­ment breast can­cer.

How­ever, ex­perts warned that for some longterm smok­ers the risks may out­weigh the ben­e­fits.

Dr Julie Sharp, from the char­ity Can­cer Re­search UK, which funded the study, said: “This re­search high­lights that breast can­cer pa­tients who smoke need to be of­fered help and sup­port in or­der to try and quit to min­imise any risks from their treat­ment.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that mod­ern-day radiotherapy tech­niques have been re­fined and im­proved to make sure it is tar­geted and ef­fec­tive while re­duc­ing the risk of side ef­fects.” for

Breast can­cer vic­tims face radiotherapy risk

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