Severity of cancers due to tobacco

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is directly related to tobacco consumption. This has been proven either for epidermoid cancers or for small cell cancers.

Increasing incidence of lung cancer according to tobacco consumption
Graph issued from website  TabacNet

The survival of patients diagnosed with lung cancer is particularly disastrous. Only those very few patients who can be operated with normal limits of exeresis have a 5 year survival chance of over 35%.

These poor results are confirmed by the American epidemiological study SEER in 1994 (Semin Surg Oncol 1994, 10, 21-30).

Survival at 5 years of patients with epidermoid carcinoma of the lung:
Source website TabacNet

Head and neck cancers

Almost the same correlation between tobacco and cancer could be claimed concerning most epidermoid head and neck cancers.

Increasing incidence of head and neck cancers with the consumption of tobacco:
Source website  TabacNet

The therapeutic results are unpromising and at the cost of major mutilation to the patient which can induce social rupture (speech loss, major distortions of the face) and major consequences (mouth dryness due to loss of salivary functions due to radiotherapy). The majority of cases are T3 or T4 (and 5 year survival is less than 50%).

Survival of tongue cancer (blue), larynx (piriform sinus) and vocal cords.
According to Laramore G.E. (Radiation therapy of Head and Neck Cancer, Berlin, springer Verlag, 1988)

The same considerations could be made for oesophageal cancer with a 5 year global survival of around 5%.

Thus, for most tobacco cancers, current therapy is very inefficient. Only prevention (and for a few localisations, screening) could help to increase these results.

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