News / Health

Heavy Smokers at Risk for Deadly Kidney Cancer

A woman smokes a cigarette. The World Health Organization (WHO) says tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, (File)
A woman smokes a cigarette. The World Health Organization (WHO) says tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, (File)

If you smoke more than a pack or two of cigarettes a day, you are classified as a heavy smoker.  And new research also shows the longer you smoke, the greater your risk of developing life threatening diseases.  One of them is a deadly form of kidney cancer.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) is not exaggerating when it says tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.  But each year, according to the WHO, at least seven million people, or one in every 10 adults around the globe, dies of a smoking related disease. Adding to that bad news, the health organization predicts that almost half of those who currently smoke will die from a disease associated with tobacco.

Smoking is linked to heart disease, stroke and in the case of cancer, begins in the lung where it is inhaled.

Dr. Thomas Polascik of Duke University's Cancer Institute says the smoke travels through the lungs, the bloodstream and makes its way eventually to the kidneys, where tumors can grow quite large before they are detected.

"Unless a patient has some sort of pain or perhaps blood in the urine, it may not come to their attention," Dr. Polascik stated.

Often the patient comes into the hospital emergency room with abdominal pain or indigestion, and an imaging device like the MRI or CT scan identifies the tumor.

Previous research had already established the connection between tobacco use and kidney cancer, but the scientists at Duke University studied the medical records of more than 800 patients who had undergone surgery and found something more serious: the onset of advanced kidney cancer.

Dr. Polascik says the kidney cancer patients were divided into three groups, current and former smokers and those who never smoked.  Their risk of advanced kidney cancer was based on two factors, how much they smoked every day and over how long a period of time.

"We found that for people who have smoked, say, up to 10 years, the risk only increases by six percent.  Whereas, if you smoked between 10 and 20 years, that risk goes up to 45 percent," Dr. Polascik explained. "Of course, if you smoke over 30 to 40 pack years, your risk increases to 80 percent compared to non-smokers."

But what are the odds of advanced renal cancer if the patient has either stopped smoking long ago or never smoked at all? "After a number of decades, maybe 20 or 30 years of non-smoking or having to quit smoking, one’s odds will be almost the same as a non-smoker, but not quite," he said.

The doctors say this discovery could provide another incentive for smokers to quit.  The sooner they stop, the greater their chance of survival.  Dr. Polascik says in the past, patients with advanced kidney cancer had about an eight percent chance of surviving another five years.  But imaging techniques such as the MRI and the CT scan can identify tumors when they are smaller.

"With these smaller tumors we can typically surgically excise them [cut them out] and the survival rate is like in the order of 90 to 95 percent,” he said.  “It’s quite high."

The researchers at Duke University say more study needs to be done, perhaps by identifying in the laboratory how smoking by-products interact in the body’s organs to form malignant tumors.  The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More