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Smoking is a known risk factor for the development of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and has been proven in a number of studies, such as the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a prospective study including almost 1,500 people published in 2005, and data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program database from 2010.
In addition to being a risk factor for RCC development, recent research has shown that active cigarette smoking is independently associated with worse overall and cancer-specific survival in patients diagnosed with advanced RCC.
Smokers in general have worse health outcomes due to the high rates of comorbidity linked to tobacco, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, which affect the global survival of all patients regardless of a cancer diagnosis.
The researchers said “Biologically, it is possible that heavy smoking promotes angiogenesis, tumour mutations or evolution, and immunosuppression, but these hypotheses remain to be studied in depth in RCC.”
It is unknown whether stopping smoking could minimise or reverse the risk associated with active smoking at the time of diagnosis, though some health damage associated with tobacco use may improve.