Got Cancer? Stopping Smoking Increases Your Chances Of Living 100%

Lung Cancer Patients and Smoking: It’s Not Too Late to Quit

Smokers who have been diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer, and immediately quit smoking, can increase their survival chances by 100% over 5 years compared to similar patients who don’t quit. These statistics are the findings of a review conducted in the UK by the University of Birmingham and made available online this year by the British Medical Journal.

The review considered ten separate studies, with the goal of determining whether tobacco cessation could have an effect on lung cancer death frequency and general prognosis for smokers after they’ve developed the disease. The reviewers took differing study quality and design into account.

The analysis of these studies shows that early stage patients who went on smoking were considerably more likely to die, and more likely to have tumor recurrence after initial treatment, than comparable post-diagnosis quitters. Cancer progression appeared to account for most of the higher death rate, the data show.

The review also finds a very substantial increase in the quitters’ survival rate over a five year period after their initial diagnoses: 63-70% for those who gave up smoking as opposed to 29-33% for continuing smokers. Twice as many quitters as non-quitters were still alive five years after learning they had early cancer. Overall, the review’s authors say it supports the view that lung tumor behavior is strongly affected by continued tobacco use. They recommend further research, but strongly recommend that tobacco quitting programs be offered to early stage cancer patients.

The British Medical Journal’s accompanying editorial emphasizes the study’s point: it’s not too late to quit.

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