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30th July 2021

Lung cancer research shows it really is never too late to quit smoking

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Lung cancer patients who quit smoking when they are diagnosed can extend their life for up to two years than those who continue to smoke, a new study has revealed, highlighting it never too late to stop.

In the Russian-based study, 517 people with early stages of lung cancer were regularly monitored over a seven-year period to see how often they smoked as well as other potential lifestyle changes.

Of those interviewed, 45% quit smoking after their diagnosis. Those that did lived approximately two years longer than those who continued to smoke.

The results, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found the effects of quitting smoking held up ‘regardless of tumour stage, how much the patient smoked and how long after diagnosis they quit’.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, believes the results of this study needs sharing far and wide:

There is a belief that once you are diagnosed with lung cancer then the worst has happened so they can’t harm themselves any more by continuing to smoke. This study suggests this isn’t the case and, actually by continuing to smoke, they are potentially denying themselves more time with their loved ones.

We hope the results of these studies are recognised and additional research is undertaken to examine the true extent of quitting smoking post diagnosis.”

The link between smoking and lung cancer are well known. Smoking remains the largest cause of lung cancer, with 72% of cases in the UK caused by smoking. As a result, there is a fatalistic attitude amongst smokers which can often discourage them to quit.

However, this latest study and previous research which found there are a small number of cells which remain unharmed and healthy and allow our lungs to repair some of the damage caused by smoking once we quit, could now provide further encouragement to stub out cigarettes for good.

Paula concludes:

“For many years, our charity has helped thousands of people quit smoking and one of the constant hurdles people have to overcome is the fatalistic attitude around smoking. People believe that ‘the damage has already been done’.

Research is now showing this is not the case and that it is always better to quit than continuing to smoke – whether you have been diagnosed with lung cancer or not.”

If you want to quit smoking, our online forum can help support you. Chat to others who know what you’re going through, swap tips to beat craving and get the help, support, encouragement and understanding as you move to a smoke-free life.