It’s not too late to quit smoking if you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer.
According to researchers, quitting smoking after being diagnosed with lung cancer can dramatically improve one’s health results.
They also point out that stopping smoking can enhance a person’s general health and lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
They go on to say that stopping smoking is tough even after a cancer diagnosis.
According to a study published on July 26, quitting smoking after being diagnosed with lung cancer can boost your chances of surviving cancer and other issues in the future.
In these conditions, quitting smoking may seem like a no-brainer, but up to 50% of smoking cancer survivors continue to smoke, according to reports.
Dr. Matthew Triplette, MPH, medical director of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s lung cancer screening program, noted, “Several studies have indicated a fatalistic mindset among some smokers” (SCCA). “They are aware that smoking is harmful to their health, but they continue to smoke with the mentality that ‘what will happen will happen.’When people get cancer, they may believe the worst has happened and that continuing to smoke will not damage them.”
However, while it may seem intuitive that stopping smoking while attempting to avoid lung cancer is a good idea, there hasn’t been much direct research on the topic, which these researchers hope to address.
Researchers found that those who quit smoking after being diagnosed with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer lived longer in general and were cancer-free for longer than those who received treatment but did not quit.
People who quit smoking lived an average of 6.6 years compared to 4.8 years for smokers. They also lived longer without developing cancer (5.7 against 3.9 years) and before dying of lung cancer (7.9 versus 6 years).
According to Dr. Andrew Brown, a medical oncologist at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey’s The Cancer Center, that makes sense.
Brown told Healthline that continuing to smoke throughout cancer treatment puts you at risk for infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. “Even a minor infection can swiftly escalate in a cancer patient undergoing treatment. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of lung infection nearly immediately, and the risk decreases with each passing day, week, and month.
“Stopping smoking also makes it easier to do surgery and/or tolerate radiation therapy if it’s part of the treatment plan,” he noted.
Quitting smoking is beneficial to one’s overall health.
Experts say that quitting smoking not only improves your chances of surviving lung cancer but can also improve your general health.
“Nonsmokers, or people who quit smoking, are less likely to acquire or have issues from other medical concerns, such as heart disease and strokes,” Triplette explained. “Recurrence of lung cancer or a second lung cancer is prevalent among smokers, thus stopping smoking lowers the risk of a second lung cancer or another type of cancer.”
However, the main reason people don’t quit smoking is likely the same reason they never quit smoking before being diagnosed with cancer: quitting is difficult.
“Nicotine addiction is akin to heroin, cocaine, and other extremely addictive substances,” said Dr. Maher Karam-Hage, medical director of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Tobacco Treatment Program.
Dr. Osita Onugha, a thoracic surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, and assistant professor of thoracic surgery agreed.
“Smoking is an addiction, and people often turn to vices like smoking, drinking, or eating to cope with stress,” Onugha told Healthline. “Being told you have lung cancer not only generates stress, but it can also cause anxiety. As a result, quitting smoking after a lung cancer diagnosis can be significantly more difficult.”
But that isn’t a reason to be despair.
Dr. Robert Y. Goldberg, a pulmonologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California, recommends starting by facing your anxiety without smokes.
“Daily breathing exercises can assist to minimize tension and anxiety while you go through treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer,” Goldberg told Healthline. “Make sure to consume good and nutritious meals, as well as physical activity, to help you manage your cancer journey and reduce fatigue, boost your general mood, and manage your weight.”
“It’s critical to understand that you’re not alone. He went on to say that close friends and family may be a terrific support system. “However, cancer support organizations should not be overlooked. Joining a support group is a great opportunity to meet people who understand your situation. Additionally, it is a secure environment where you can express any thoughts or concerns you may have during treatment.”