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Men who continue to smoke after they have received a diagnosis of cancer are more likely to die than those who find out they have cancer and quit smoking, according to a new study.

The findings come from a study of Chinese men, ages 45 to 64. Men who smoked after receiving a cancer diagnosis had a 59 percent higher risk of death from all causes, compared with men who did not smoke after receiving a diagnosis of cancer, HealthDay reports.

The risk of death among men who continued to smoke was 2.95-fold higher for men with bladder cancer, 2.36-fold higher for lung cancer, and 2.31-fold higher for colorectal cancer, compared with men who quit smoking after their diagnosis.

The findings are published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

“Many cancer patients and their health care providers assume that it is not worth the effort to stop smoking at a time when the damage from smoking has already been done, considering these patients have been diagnosed with cancer,” study author Dr. Li Tao of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, said in a journal news release. “Our study provides evidence of the impact of postdiagnosis smoking on survival after cancer, and assists in addressing the critical issue of tobacco control in cancer survivorship.”

Tao said only a small percentage of cancer patients who are smokers when they are diagnosed with cancer receive formal smoking cessation counseling from their doctor, and less than half of these patients eventually quit smoking after their diagnosis.

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