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Decade after diagnosis, 9 percent of cancer survivors still smoke

Nine years after diagnosis, 9 percent of cancer survivors still smoke

Nine percent of cancer survivors were still smoking cigarettes nearly a decade after falling ill, researchers at the American Cancer Society found.

The researchers looked at data for nearly 3,000 adult cancer survivors, and 9.3 percent were smoking nine years after their diagnosis. Most smoked daily, averaging 15 cigarettes a day. Survivors of lung or bladder cancer, which are often caused by cigarette smoking, were the most likely to still be smokers. One-third of the participants who smoked at the time of their diagnosis were able to quit.

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Nearly half of the current smokers said they planned to quit, 43 percent said they were unsure, and 10 percent said they had no plans to quit.

Smoking can decrease the effectiveness of cancer treatments and may increase the risk of recurrence, the authors wrote. The findings suggest that some cancer survivors may need stronger interventions to help them quit for the long term, they wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Almost 10 percent of cancer survivors continue to smoke nine years after their diagnosis.

CAUTIONS: The study partially relied on self-reports of smokers’ intentions to quit so those findings may not be accurate.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Aug. 6.

1 in 6 lupus patients readmitted
to hospital
within 30 days

One in six patients with systemic lupus erythematosus is readmitted to the hospital within a month of being discharged, a University of California San Francisco study found. Researchers said that readmission rate was higher than for most other chronic diseases.

They reviewed records of nearly 56,000 hospital admissions in five states between 2008 and 2009 for more than 30,000 lupus patients 18 and older. Nearly 17 percent of the patients were readmitted within 30 days of their discharge. The most common reasons patients returned to the hospital were inflammation of the kidneys or other organs, or a low blood platelet count.

Older patients were less likely to be readmitted than younger patients. Black and Hispanic patients were more likely than whites to be readmitted, as were patients on Medicare or Medicaid.

BOTTOM LINE: One in six lupus patients is readmitted to the hospital within a month of being discharged.

CAUTIONS: The study relied on a sampling of patients from five states so the findings may not represent the entire country. The data did not make clear whether readmissions were planned.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Arthritis & Rheumatology, Aug. 11


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