According to a new study, snus, a smokeless tobacco product, may increase a prostate cancer patient’s risk of death.
Some have suggested that because it lacks the combustive effects of smoking, that snus is a less a harmful alternative to smoking.
However, researchers found the men who used snus and had prostate cancer were at increased risk of premature death.
Pronounced as though it rhymes with “goose”, snus is used mainly in Sweden but is also available in the United States. Sold most often in a bag resembling a tea bag, users place the powdered tobacco product under the upper lip for extended periods.
The researchers investigating snus users, found that, compared with men who never used tobacco, those non-smokers who used snus had a 24 percent higher risk of death from prostate cancer during the study period. They also had a 19 percent higher risk of death from any cause.
The study found that for those non-smokers who used snus whose cancer had not spread; these patients were three times more likely to die from prostate cancer than those who never used tobacco.
The study co-author concluded that there is some evidence from animal studies that nicotine can promote cancer progression, and snus users have high blood levels of nicotine. Although snus is a smokeless product, users are still exposed to other carcinogens in tobacco.
The results of the study suggest that the health effects of smokeless tobacco products can be detrimental to men diagnosed with prostate cancer.