Researchers have revealed the possible negative impacts of consumption of smokeless tobacco aka ‘snus’ in case of prostate cancer patients suggesting that it could increase risk of death in such patiens.
The study published in the International Journal of Cancer claims that consumption of ‘snus’ on regular basis may prove fatal for prostate cancer patients so much so that it could also lead to premature death. Researchers at Harvard University suggest that nicotine or other non-combustion-related components of tobacco may play a role in prostate cancer progression.
Snus is a powdered tobacco product, often sold in teabag-like sachets, that is placed under the upper lip for extended periods. Snus has found mainstream adoption because it is much less harmful than smoking tobacco because the former doesn’t involve combustion which is known to increase cancer risk substantially. Researcher acknowledge that smokeless tobacco does contain nicotine, but because there is no combustion involved, rest of the harmful compounds don’t come into the picture.
Researchers analyzed health data collected from Swedish construction workers during preventive health check-ups between 1971 and 1992, including a tobacco use questionnaire completed during each man`s initial check-up. Of these men, 9,582 later developed prostate cancer. About half of the subjects died during the follow-up period–2,489 from prostate cancer.
Those who used snus but did not smoke had a 24 percent increased risk of dying from prostate cancer and a 19 percent increased risk of dying, as compared to those who never used tobacco. Among men whose cancer had not spread, increased risk of death from prostate cancer was three times higher than for never-users of tobacco.
Research associate Sarah Markt said, “There is some evidence from animal studies that nicotine can promote cancer progression, and snus users have high blood levels of nicotine. Snus users are also exposed to other carcinogens in tobacco even though it is a smokeless product.”
Adding, “Taken together, this suggests that the health effects of smokeless tobacco products should be carefully studied by public health officials.”