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Secondhand Smoke Still Plagues Some Cancer Survivors
Study found they face health risks from continued exposure

By Robert Preidt

THURSDAY, June 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The number of nonsmoking cancer survivors exposed to secondhand smoke is down significantly in the United States, but it's too soon to breathe easy.

A new review of federal data on nearly 700 nonsmoking adult cancer survivors found 15.7 percent reporting exposure to secondhand smoke in 2011-2012, down from nearly 40 percent in 1999-2000.

However, exposure rates were higher among those with a history of smoking-related cancer and those living below the federal poverty level.

Rates of secondhand tobacco exposure among nonsmoking cancer survivors are similar to that of the general population, the study found.

"This is concerning," said study author Dr. Oladimeji Akinboro, chief medical resident at Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital in New Rochelle, N.Y., "because those who have had or have cancer represent a group of people whose health outcomes are adversely influenced by any form of tobacco exposure."

Exposure to secondhand smoke can hurt survivors' cancer recovery and increase their risk of stroke, heart attack and death, he said.

The study found that some groups -- notably ethnic minorities and people with low incomes -- had higher rates of exposure than others:

  • Overall, 55.6 percent of blacks and 26 percent of whites had been exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Of those with a history of smoking-related cancer, 35.5 percent reported exposure, as did 26 percent of those with a cancer not linked to smoking.
  • Of people with incomes below the federal poverty line, 53 percent reported secondhand smoke exposure, compared to nearly 23 percent of those with higher incomes.

Overall, 4.5 percent of nonsmoking adult cancer survivors lived with a smoker, according to the study published June 22 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"Cancer patients and survivors must be encouraged to be their own advocates regarding secondhand smoke exposure, in adopting voluntary smoke-free home and vehicle rules, and avoiding settings outside the home where they are more likely than not to be involuntarily exposed to tobacco smoke," Akinboro said in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on cancer survivors.

SOURCE: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, news release, June 22, 2017

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=723855

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
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