Advancing Cancer Care

New Report Shows Smoking Affects Outcomes and Survival for Cancer Patients

On January 17, 2014 the Surgeon General Released "The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General." The original landmark report in 1964 concluded that smoking caused lung cancer and laryngeal cancer in men. Since 1964 several additional cancer sites including oropharynx, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney and ureter, bladder, cervix, colorectum, and acute myeloid leukemia have been added to the list. Overall, tobacco use accounts for approximately one third of all cancer deaths annually.

However, what was new in this report that is specifically relevant to clinicians involved in caring for cancer patients is the finding that tobacco smoking causes adverse outcomes in cancer patients. Specifically, the report concluded that “in cancer patients and survivors, the evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between cigarette smoking and adverse health outcomes. Quitting smoking improves the prognosis of cancer patients.”

“This conclusion is based upon rigorous review of the scientific evidence,” said Dr. Graham Warren M.D., Ph.D. Vice Chairman for Research in Radiation Oncology and contributing author for the 2014 Surgeon General's Report. “Conclusions of causation are considered the highest-level evidence and are based upon the consistency, strength, specificity, and coherence of the association between tobacco and health outcomes."

2014 Surgeon General's Report

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