It’s a no brainer that non-smokers are less likely to die of lung cancer than smokers. It would seem that quitting smoking would have similar benefits—potentially extending your life even after a cancer diagnosis. But new research shows it isn’t that simple, that while never-smokers are the most likely to survive a lung cancer diagnosis, just how quitting benefits your cancer fight, survival depends on when you quit and the stage your cancer is in.
Published in the journal Cancer, the newest research says that there are some benefits to quitting smoking where lung cancer is concerned (duh!). Those patients who quit smoking a year or more before diagnosis, and who are diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease saw the greatest chances of survival increase when compared with those in the early stages of cancer.
According to Reuters:
Among smokers with stage 1 or 2 lung cancer, for instance, 72 percent survived at least two years, compared to 93 percent of the never-smokers and 76 percent of people who’d kicked the habit a year or more before diagnosis.
Additionally, among those with stage 4 lung cancer, 15 percent of smokers survived two years, 20 percent of former smokers did, and 40 percent of never-smokers survived. In older patients, former smokers who quit more than a year before their diagnosis were 30 percent less likely to die from stage 4 cancer than current smokers.
When age, race, and treatments were taken into consideration, those in early-stage cancers who quit smoking were just as likely to die as those who continued smoking.
The researchers looked at more than 4,000 cancer patients treated at eight different cancer centers.
What does all of this research mean? It means, as we already know, smoking can significantly increase your risk of cancer death. Also, never smoking is far better than picking up and then dropping the habit. If you need more convincing to quit, check out what happens when you quite smoking, and how the effects of smoking go far beyond your own personal health.
If you’ve started smoking, it’s never too late to stop. Within only 20 minutes of quitting, your body will begin to recover—decreasing your blood pressure and pulse and increasing circulation. Within only 1 day, your risk of a heart attack drops significantly and the levels of carbon monoxide in your blood falls as well. Two days after quitting and your nerves will begin to regenerate; your sense of taste and smell will also begin to recover.