LONDON – People with early lung cancer who quit smoking could double their chances of surviving, a new study says.
Until now, there has been little proof that quitting smoking after developing lung cancer makes any difference to survival.
British researchers analyzed previous data from 10 studies examining how long smokers survived after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
People with lung cancer who continued smoking had a 29 to 33 percent chance of surviving five years. But those who kicked the habit had a 63 to 70 percent chance of being alive after five years. The research was published Friday in the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal.
Lung cancer is the top cancer worldwide, and the prognosis is usually poor. Only about 7 percent of patients make it to five years, though about 20 percent of patients are diagnosed early enough to be treated.
“The message is you should never give up on giving up (smoking),” said Amanda Parsons, of the U.K. Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Birmingham, who led the study.
The research might also provide some clues on how smoking causes cancer. Knowing how cigarettes impact cancer could potentially lead to new treatments, Parsons and colleagues wrote.
The study was paid for by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research U.K. and other governmental bodies.