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How tobacco increases melanoma risk

Monday February 18th, 2019

Smokers are much more vulnerable to the effects of melanoma than are non-smokers, according to a study conducted in the north of England.

Researcher found that smokers were 40% more likely to die within the decade after diagnosis than non-smokers.

The research, published in Cancer Research, involved an analysis of the outcomes for more than 700 melanoma patients.

It found that a sub-set of patients were particularly vulnerable. In these 156 patients with the most genetic indicators for immune cells, smokers were more than four times less likely to survive than the non-smokers.

This suggests that smoking may weaken the body's immune response to cancer, the researchers say.

Researcher Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, from Leeds University, said: "The immune system is like an orchestra, with multiple pieces. This research suggests that smoking might disrupt how it works together in tune, allowing the musicians to continue playing but possibly in a more disorganised way.

"The result is that smokers could still mount an immune response to try and destroy the melanoma, but it appears to have been less effective than in never-smokers, and smokers were less likely to survive their cancer.

"Based on these findings, stopping smoking should be strongly recommended for people diagnosed with melanoma."

Cancer Research 15 February 2019

http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2864

Tags: Cancer | Dermatology | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | UK News

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