Smoking hampers prostate cancer treatment says research

In collaboration with the Press Association

Smoking cigarettes could be linked to poorer prospects and more severe side-effects when undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, according to a study by the Fox Chase Centre in the US.

Tobacco use has previously been linked to an increased risk of radiation-related side effects in cancers of the head and neck, cervix, lung and breast.

The Fox Chase study examined the effects of smoking on 1,194 prostate cancer patients who received radiation therapy between 1991 and 2001.

The patients were monitored for digestive, incontinence and impotence problems.

"Our patients who smoked during treatment reported having more acute gastrointestinal side-effects such as diarrhea," said lead researcher, Dr Niraj Pahlajani.

But smoking didn't appear to have an effect on longer term side-effects.

"These results underscore the importance of smoking cessation prior to radiation therapy," added Dr Pahlajani.

The study was presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Philadelphia.