Medical Technology

It’s never too late to stop smoking, even After a Lung Cancer Diagnose

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Quitting smoking following a lung-cancer diagnosis confers an impressive survival benefit, according to results of an meta-analysis.

“Doctors should tell patients it’s never too late for them to quit smoking. even if they have been diagnosed with lung cancer, they can boost their (chance of survival) quite a bit by quitting smoking as fast and as soon as they can,” Dr. Saverio Caini from the Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network, Florence, Italy, told Reuters Health via email.

Dr. Caini stated that smoking cessation programs should be integrated into multidisciplinary cancer treatment. He stated that providing information and assistance to patients with lung-cancer should be a mandatory part of managing the patients.

The meta-analysis included 21 studies that examined the effect of quitting smoking following a lung cancer diagnosis in more than 10,000 patients.

The Journal of Thoracic Oncology reports that quitting smoking prior to diagnosis was associated with higher overall survival rates (summary relative risks, 0.80; 95% CIs, 0.73 to 0.96). Dr. Caini and colleagues reported this in their study.

This benefit was seen in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (SRR, 0.79; 95% 95% CI, 0.67 to 0.93) and small-cell lung cancer (SRR, 0.75; 95 percent CI: 0.57 to 0.99) or lung cancer of both or unspecified histological type (SRR, 0.81; 95 percent CI, 0.68 to 0.96).

“Lung cancer is averaging a bad prognosis (worse than cancers at many other body parts) despite the recent advancements in the field of systemic therapy (e.g. immune therapy) which is why there is a need to know what can increase the odds of survival for those suffering from the disease,” Dr. Caini said to Reuters Health.

“Everyone is aware that lung cancer is linked to smoking and a lot of patients who have been exposed to smoking have been diagnosed with it.” Despite this, there was no certainty about whether (and how much) stopping smoking cigarettes after diagnosis can help increase survival rates,” the researcher added.

Dr. Caini stated that they were astonished by the magnitude of the effects. There was a 20-30 percent decrease in the risk of dying in patients who stopped treatment following diagnosis. This is significant as it is within the range of survival benefits that chemotherapy and immunotherapy offer cancer patients.

The study did not receive any commercial funding and the authors do not have any relevant disclosures.

SOURCE: Journal of Thoracic Oncology, online January 4, 2022.

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