Talk about playing with fire.  A new study has found that as many as 10 percent of cancer survivors continue to smoke even after their diagnosis.  Not surprisingly, the smoking rates are highest for patients whose smoking likely caused their cancer.

For the study, researchers interviewed 3,000 cancer survivors nine years after their diagnosis.  Assuming that all of the smokers had started smoking before they were diagnosed with cancer, researchers estimated that roughly one-third of patients quit after diagnosis, while two-thirds continued to smoke.  

Overall, researchers found that the smoking rate among cancer survivors was 9.3 percent - about half that of the general population.  The rate was highest for smokers with a type of cancer that was likely caused by their smoking.  The smoking rates for patients with lung and bladder cancers was 14.9 percent and 17.2 percent respectively compared with that of 7.6 percent for those with melanoma or 6.8 percent for patients with colon cancer.

The study also found that 47 percent of cancer survivors wanted to quit, another 43 percent said they were "not sure," and 10 percent said they had no plans to quit.  

So the desire to quit is there.  But it's not as strong as the pull of addiction.

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