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Lifestyle factors significantly impact survival of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients, study finds
Date:5/13/2010

ROCHESTER, Minn. A new study led by researchers from Mayo Clinic in collaboration with six other U.S. institutions has found that patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who smoked, consumed alcohol or were obese before their cancer diagnosis had poorer overall survival, compared to patients who did not have these risk factors. This association held after accounting for clinical and demographic factors, and also when considering only deaths due to this kind of lymphoma.

For example, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients with a 20-plus-year history of smoking had a 76 percent higher risk of death compared to never smokers; patients who consumed more than 43 grams of alcohol per week had a 55 percent higher risk of death compared to nondrinkers; and obese patients (defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher) had a 32 percent higher risk of death compared to patients with normal weight for their height.

While smoking and obesity had already been found to increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, this is the first U.S. study to look at their role on survival after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the researchers say. For alcohol, they found that use was associated with poorer survival, which is opposite of the effect for developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, where alcohol appears to lower risk.

These findings, published in the March 30 online edition of Cancer, mirror conclusions found in three smaller studies, according to the study's lead investigator, James Cerhan, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo cancer epidemiologist. These are the first data from North American patients, and the only study to simultaneously look at all three lifestyle factors, he says.

"This now raises the hypothesis that changing these behaviors after diagnosis might improve survival, but this needs to be tested in a clinical study," he says. "In the meantime, patients
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Contact: Karl Oestreich
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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