Breast Cancer Does Not Stop Women From Smoking, Drinking
Breast cancer does not seem to prevent women from continuing to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, according to a new study.
Researchers at Monash University analyzed data from over 1500 women from Victoria, Australia and found that two out of three women who were smokers prior to their breast cancer diagnosis continued to smoke two years later. Additionally, one in 12 women were still drinking over four drinks in one sitting at least once per week.
"We know that both alcohol and cigarette smoking are risk factors for breast cancer and these women all have invasive breast cancer already and that means they are at risk of a recurrence," said Robin Bell, lead author of the study and professor at Monash University, as quoted by Yahoo 7 News. "This group is also at increased risk of another primary breast cancer so it makes sense that if you are at increased risk that you would reduce your risk by taking away those other risk factors."
Twelve percent of study participants were regular smokers when they were diagnosed with breast cancer, and about one third of them kicked the habit within two years. One-fourth of them reduced the amount they were smoking.
Seventy percent of the women drank alcohol when they were diagnosed, but those who were heavy drinkers reduced the amount they drank over the two-year period.
According to Bell, part of why breast cancer patients continue to smoke and drink may have to do with the popular role alcohol plays in society.
The study was published in the journal Support Care Cancer.