Smoking Worsens Prostate Cancer Prognosis

A recent study found that smokers have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, but a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer when they have it. The findings were published in European Urology.

To conduct this analysis, researchers used five Swedish population studies with self-reported information on men’s smoking habits. Overall, they assessed more than 350,000 men were included in the study from 1974 and onwards. The population of interest were followed over the years using several national registers. The investigators noted that the National Prostate Cancer Registry contributed data on tumor type at diagnosis, cause of detection, and treatment. Over the duration of the study period, 24 731 of the participants developed prostate cancer and 4,322 died from the disease.

The results showed that smokers have a reduced risk of prostate cancer, but only for localized prostate cancer. “A probable explanation for the lower risk of prostate cancer in smokers is that they may be less likely to take an asymptomatic PSA test. On the other hand, smokers have a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer, which was something we observed regardless of tumour stage at diagnosis, so this means all forms of prostate cancer, from low risk to metastatic,” says Sylvia Jochems, PhD and first author of the study, per a press release.

According to Tanja Stocks, Associate Professor at Lund University, and last study author, “We need to understand more about whether it is smoking or other risk factors, such as socio-demographic factors, that cause this association. Another important question is whether prognosis could be improved by stopping smoking after a prostate cancer diagnosis.”