Smokers beware, your habit can up risk of second cancer
MUMBAI: There is one more reason to not light up a cigarette or chew tobacco. Not only do these habits make you more susceptible to oral or lung cancer, they also increase your chances of getting a second cancer, say doctors from Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel.
This second cancer is not the same thing as a recurrence, which is better known as metastasis of an old primary or first cancer. The second primary cancer is literally a new episode of cancer. It is important to make this distinction as treatments differ. "We have seen cases of second primary cancer in patients barely six months after they finished their treatment,'' said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck cancer surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital.
Consider one of his patients, Ram Singh. The 38-year-old government servant and a resident of Navi Mumbai was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2009. After undergoing rigorous treatment, the Tata team recently found another cancer, barely a few centimetres from the original site. "After several tests, we realized that it wasn't just the old cancer recurring, but an entirely new chapter of cancer," said Dr Chaturvedi.
One of the reasons that Singh acquired a second cancer is his habit of smoking and chewing tobacco. For 15 years, he had chewed tobacco five to six times every day and smoked up to one packet of cigarettes a day for 10 years. He quit when the first or primary cancer was discovered, but the damage was done.
A study published in the BioMedical Centre's Cancer Journal in February 2014 said, "French cancer survivors face a dramatically increased risk of SPC (second primary cancer) which is probably related to the high rate of tobacco and alcohol consumption in France.''
Doctors estimate that 5% to 10% of cancer patients face the risk of a second primary cancer.
"Smoke mixed with saliva can cause molecular damage right from the lip to the bottom of the lungs,'' said the doctor. Oral cancers, which account for 30% of all cancers in India, kill around 50,000 every year.
The overall incidence of oral cancer has been reducing with better treatment and diagnostic facilities. Experts such as Dr Vikram Kekatpure, head and neck surgeon from Narayana Health City in Bangalore, though, notice another worrisome trend: Cancer is catching patients younger. "Previously, oral cancers were seen in men who were over 50 years of age. We now see it among 30-year-olds.'' He believes the rise in second primary cancer is due to better survival rates among patients.
Reference material :http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Smokers-beware-your-habit-can-up-risk-of-second-cancer/articleshow/35739364.cms