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Smokers and Breast Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy may not help breast cancer patients that smoke.

A landmark study reveals the impact of smoking on survival of breast cancer patients. A recently published Oxford University study has analyzed the data from numerous other peer-reviewed publications that smokers have a disproportionate risk of developing and dying from lung cancer following breast radiation therapy. This meta-analysis reveals that smokers constitute a different “class” and as such, are at a much higher risk of developing lung cancer. In the study, the data from 40,781 patients reported in those publications between 2010 and 2015 (the so-called modern era for breast radiotherapy) were randomly analyzed based on surgery and radiation versus surgery alone.



Andrea McKee, MD

Andrea McKee, MD, Radiation Oncologist at the Lahey Clinic notes, “For early-stage breast cancer patients who meet the requirement for partial breast irradiation, I more heavily weight the PBI option to avoid exposure to the lungs, considering the odds of secondary malignancies.”


For more information, BreastCancer.org has more information on the risk of heart and lung problems for smokers.

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