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Smoking lowers chances of surviving throat cancer

Smoking and drinking reduces the likelihood of improvement and survival for people with cancer of the larynx or lower pharynx, a study says//.

Eating eating a vegetable-rich diet with vitamin C improves their chances of survival, a study published in current issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Various studies have established links between smoking, alcohol drinking, and diet to the development of cancer in the larynx and hypopharynx, the area immediately above it at the back of the throat. However, precious little was known about the role of these risk factors on the survival of patients with these cancers.

Dr. Rajesh P. Dikshit, and his colleagues at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, conducted a study to analyze the survival of patients with laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer. They followed 931 patients who had enrolled in a previous cancer study that had started in the early 80s, and analyzed the role of tobacco, alcohol and diet on cancer outcome in these patients, in some cases for as long as 21 years.

They say smoking was found to be the most important factor adversely affecting the patient's survival, particularly in those patients with tumors in the larynx. Alcohol consumption also had a negative effect on survival, but to a lesser extent than tobacco.

The more important part of the study is the protective effect of some diet components. It found that that a high intake of vitamin C had a highly positive impact on the survival of patients.

The study also found a strong protective effect of a diet rich in vegetables, but not of the individual components found in those vegetables. Only vitamin C was protective on its own.

Eating vegetables and vitamin C is also something cancer patients should consider. "Doctors are prescribing this already, but now we have demonstrated that these diet components improve the patient's survival, and perhaps make th e treatment more effective."

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