Researchers report that a smoker who is diagnosed with lung cancer can significantly improve their health outcomes by stopping smoking.
They note that quitting smoking can also improve a person’s overall health and reduce the risk of heart attacks or stroke.
They add that quitting smoking is a difficult thing to accomplish even after a cancer diagnosis.
A study published July 26 suggests that quitting smoking after receiving a lung cancer diagnosis can signifi-cantly improve your likelihood of surviving cancer and other complications down the line.
Quitting smoking may sound like an obvious deci-sion in these circumstances, but as many as 50 per-centTrusted Source of smoking cancer survivors reportedly continue to light up.
“Several studies have found a fatalistic attitude among some smok-ers,” explained Dr. Matthew Triplette, MPH, medi-cal director of the lung cancer screening program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA).
“They know smoking is bad for them but continue smoking with the attitude that ‘what will happen will happen.’
When they develop cancer, sometimes they think the worst has happened and that any further smok-ing is unlikely to harm them.”
But though it might be intuitive that quitting smok-ing while trying to get free of lung cancer makes sense, there has not been much direct research on that front – something these researchers aim to change.
In the new study, which looked at 500 peo-ple with early stage non-small cell lung cancer, researchers reported that those who quit smoking after diagnosis lived longer in general and longer cancer-free than people who received treatment but did not quit.
All told, people who quit smoking lived 6.6 years on average versus 4.8 years among smokers.
They also lived longer cancer-free (5.7 versus 3.9 years) and lived longer before dying from lung cancer, at 7.9 years versus 6 years.
That makes sense, said Dr. Andrew Brown, a medical oncologist at The Cancer Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey.
“Continued smoking during cancer treatment can put you at higher risk for infections like bronchitis and pneumonia,” Brown told Healthline
“In a per-son going through cancer treatment, even a small infection can become very serious quickly.
Quitting smoking almost instantaneously lowers your risk of pulmonary infection and each day and week and month risk is lower.
“Also, stopping smoking makes it safer to perform surgery and/or tolerate radiation therapy if that is part of treatment plan” he added.