According to a new study, nearly one third of a group of patients with head and neck cancer continued to smoke, even though it was likely to worsen their condition. Smoking and drinking are both significant risk factors for head and neck cancer especially in combination. According to researchers,at the Hopkins University, inspite of complications, some patients continued taking these risks.
In a group of 70 patients with head and neck cancer, one third smoked still and nearly half consumed alcohol. The smokers tended to be more depressed and have an overall poorer quality of life than non-smokers. It's not clear if they smoked for this reason, or whether smoking leads to these emotional problems. Many of those who smoked wanted help in stopping, while fewer than ten per cent of those who drank wanted to give up alcohol.
The study suggests that doctors should not overlook smoking and drinking as issues for the cancer patient. The impact they may have on the disease itself needs to be taken account of and the patient offered any support required in changing their lifestyle.