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Kidney cancer is not only more common among heavy smokers; it also appears to be more aggressive.
Researchers say about 70 percent of people with early-stage tumors survive at least five years, whereas that number plummets to just eight percent after the cancer has begun spreading.
Experts claim that former smokers who′d kicked the habit had a smaller chance of turning up with advanced cancer.
Researchers say that smoking not only increases the chances the tumor will form in the first place, but might also fuel cancer growth, perhaps by suppressing the immune system.
However, Alexander S. Parker, a kidney cancer expert at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, said it′s also possible that smokers are less likely to seek medical care than non-smokers.
Smoking accounts for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year and therefore, the overall effort should still be focused on getting people to quit smoking and to keep young people from starting in the first place.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, online April 18, 2011.