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Smoking and mortality after breast cancer diagnosis: the health and functioning in women study

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We examined the effect of smoking on long-term mortality from breast cancer and other causes among a cohort of women with breast cancer. A total of 975 women diagnosed with breast cancer and aged 40-84 years were followed for a median follow-up of 11 years in the U.S. Health and Functioning in Women (HFW) study. The impact of the individual smoking status and smoking intensity reported in the first few months following breast cancer diagnosis on the risk of mortality from breast cancer and other causes was examined using Cox proportional hazards models. In this study, former smoking was associated with increased risk of other-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.47, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.13-1.90), and the risk doubled with increased intensity (HR for <50 pack-years [py]: 1.36, 95% CI: 1.03-1.79; HR for ≥50 py: 2.45, 95% CI: 1.41-4.23). Current smoking (HR = 2.45, 95% CI: 1.81-3.32) and each additional 10 py smoked (HR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.11-1.22) were associated with statistically significant increases in the risk of other-cause mortality. The effect of current smoking on other-cause mortality decreased with advancing stage and increasing body mass index (BMI). Breast cancer-specific mortality was associated with current smoking of ≥50 py (HR = 2.36, 95% CI: 1.26-4.44), and each additional 10 py smoked (HR = 1.07, 95% CI: 1.01-1. 14). Current smoking, but not former smoking, was associated with increased risk of breast cancer-specific mortality in women with local disease (HR = 2.32, 95% CI: 1.32-4.09), but not in those with regional and distant disease (HR = 1.10, 95% CI: 0.73-1.68). Our findings suggest that current smoking at the time of breast cancer diagnosis may be associated with increased risk of breast-cancer specific and other-cause mortality, whereas former smoking is associated with increased risk of other-cause mortality. Smoking cessation at the time of diagnosis may lead to better prognosis among women with breast cancer.

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