Smoking and Mesothelioma
In a study titled Cigarette smoking, asbestos exposure, and malignant mesothelioma, published May 1991 in Cancer Research, the researchers tracked 105 male and 19 female hospital patients with a confirmed diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma along with the same number of disease-free individuals matched to the patients in terms of age and gender to examine the role cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure. Seventy-eight percent of the males and 16 percent of the females were exposed to asbestos for a minimum of one year. The male patients worked primarily the ship-building industry, construction, or insulation trades.
The researchers observed that elevated risks were found for males employed in all asbestos-related jobs and for males who self-reported exposure to asbestos or insulation.
Among women, only one patient worked in an asbestos-related industry and two reported domestic contact with asbestos. However, no association between cigarette smoking and malignant pleural mesothelioma was found for either men or women.
Combining Smoking and Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is Dangerous
“Individuals who are still smoking at the time of a lung cancer diagnosis may shorten their years of survival,” according to Grace Dean, PhD, RN, assistant professor of nursing at the University at Buffalo. Dean was the Lead Investigator on the study titled Sleep in Lung Cancer: The Role of Anxiety, Alcohol and Tobacco, published June 2010 in the Journal of Addictions Nursing. Her remark was made in a University news release dated December 30, 2010.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Tobacco smokers who have been exposed to asbestos have a ‘far greater-than-additive’ risk for lung cancer than do nonsmokers who have been exposed, meaning the risk is greater than the individual risks from asbestos and smoking added together.”
The National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, has indicated that evidence exists to support the belief that quitting smoking will reduce the risk of lung cancer among asbestos-exposed workers. The agency also stated that even though smoking combined with asbestos exposure doesn’t increase the risk of mesothelioma; anyone who has been “exposed to asbestos on the job at any time during their life or who suspect they may have been exposed should not smoke.”
Finally, smoking increases the risk of surgical complications. At the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Alparslan Turan, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic, presented findings from a study that showed that the risk of death within 30 days after surgery was about 40 percent higher in smokers than in nonsmokers.
In his study comparing more than 82,000 smokers with nonsmoking patients, Dr. Turan found that 80 percent of smokers were more like to have a heart attack, 57 percent were more likely to have cardiac arrest, and 73 percent were more likely to have a stroke. Smokers were also more likely to develop infections and to need mechanical ventilators after surgery.
The reason for all of this is that the body is continually attacked by the smoke, and it causes inflammation. The risk for complication is increased as the amount of inflammation increases.