Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Women with breast cancer continue to smoke, drink

New research shows that Australian women are prepared to make lifestyle changes, such as altering their diet, following diagnosis with breast cancer, however they are unwilling to give up alcohol and cigarettes - increasing their risk of further cancers. Associate Professor Robin Bell, Deputy Director of the Women's Health Group at Monash University led the research.

The longitudinal study surveyed 1500 Victorian women about their smoking and drinking habits on two occasions. The first time was between 2004 and 2006, when women were asked about smoking and drinking at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis. The participants were surveyed again two years later. Findings showed that two out of three women who were smokers when their breast cancer was diagnosed continued to smoke cigarettes. Alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for breast cancer and women already diagnosed with breast cancer are at risk of both recurrence and development of another primary breast cancer. However, one in 12 study participants continued to drink more than four drinks per occasion, at least once a week.

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