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Survival rates for smokers who have colon cancer less than for non-smokers

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 6:54 p.m.

NEW YORK — Smokers are less likely to live and be cancer-free three years after having colon cancer surgery than people who never smoked, according to a new study.

Out of nearly 2,000 people who had part of their colon surgically removed, researchers found that 74 percent of those who never smoked were cancer-free three years later, compared to 70 percent of smokers.

Amanda Phipps, the study's lead author from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said the results provide another reason why people should quit smoking.

“It's nice when you have findings that portray a consistent public health message,” Phipps said.

According to the American Cancer Society, certain ingredients in cigarettes can dissolve into a person's saliva and cause colon and other cancers.

The ACS estimates about 102,500 Americans will be diagnosed with colon and rectal cancers this year — and more than 40,000 will die from those diseases.

Phipps and her colleagues previously found smokers with colon cancer were more likely to die than non-smokers from any cause and specifically from their cancers. But the researchers wanted to take a closer look at how smoking affects coloncancer recurrence.

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