Cancer Screening Less Likely in Current Smokers

man smoking a cigarette
man smoking a cigarette
Findings were based on guideline-based screening for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.

HealthDay News — Current smokers are less likely to receive guideline-concordant screening studies for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer versus never smokers, according to a study published online May 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Nina N. Sanford, M.D., from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues used data from the National Health Interview Survey (2010, 2013, and 2015) to assess cancer screening patterns (for colonoscopy, mammography, prostate-specific antigen testing, and the Papanicolaou [Pap] test) among 83,176 U.S. individuals who never smoked (61.3 percent), formerly smoked (20.7 percent), and currently smoke (17.9 percent).

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The researchers found that compared with never smokers, current smokers were less likely to ever have received a colonoscopy (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.74), mammogram (aOR, 0.70), or prostate-specific antigen test (aOR, 0.76). Even among those who had ever received a specific screening test, current smokers were less likely to have undergone screening within the recommended time frame versus never smokers (colonoscopy: aOR, 0.75; mammography: aOR, 0.52; Pap test: aOR, 0.61). With the exception of prostate-specific antigen screening, former smokers were more likely than never smokers to undergo any of the screenings (colonoscopy: aOR, 1.20; mammography: aOR, 1.35; Pap test: aOR, 2.51).

“Further research is needed to identify barriers to screening among current smokers with the goal of increasing acceptance and uptake of cancer screening among this population at high risk of cancer,” the authors write.

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