London, Feb 18 : Smoking may damage the immune response against melanoma and limit patients' survival chances, according to a new study.
Melanoma patients with a history of smoking cigarettes are 40 per cent less likely to survive their skin cancer than people who have never smoked within a decade after their diagnosis, according to the study, published in the journal Cancer Research.
Other researchers have reported that smoking have adverse effects on the immune system, but it is not yet known which chemicals are responsible for this.
"The immune system is like an orchestra, with multiple pieces.
This research suggests that smoking might disrupt how it works together in tune, allowing the musicians to continue playing but possibly in a more disorganised way," said lead researcher Julia Newton-Bishop, Professor at the University of Leeds.
Smoking could directly affect how smokers' bodies deal with the melanoma cancer cells, said the researchers.
"Overall, these results show that smoking could limit the chances of melanoma patients' survival so it's especially important that they are given all the support possible to give up smoking for good," said Julie Sharp, head at Cancer Research UK in Britain.
This is the reason why people should try to give up smoking, particularly those who have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, suggested the researchers.
For the study, the team included more than 700 melanoma patients.