Smoking Cessation Increases Lung Cancer Survival

Stopping smoking extends survival by nearly a year.

Stopping smoking extends survival by nearly a year.

Quitting smoking shortly before or immediately after lung cancer diagnosis can have a significant impact on survival, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

Researchers examined tobacco use assessment data including 250 patients, of which 50 recently stopped smoking and 71 who quit after first contact with a cessation service. These patients showed lower mortality rates compared with patients who continued tobacco use.

Median survival among patients who stopped smoking was 28 months, compared with 18 months among patients who continued to use tobacco. Survival advantage results among patients who stopped smoking was adjusted for demographics, disease stage, and other health characteristics.

"To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to examine the impact of tobacco cessation on survival among lung cancer patients who participated in a mandatory assessment and automatic referral to a tobacco cessation service," senior author Mary Reid, MSPH, PhD, said.

Researchers found a survival benefit even when a patient did not completely quit using tobacco but continued trying to quit following diagnosis. Mortality rates among patients who relapsed were similar to current users, the study found.

The researchers subsequently recommend including structured smoking assessments at regular intervals as part of the standard of care in both clinical practice and trials.

"Establishing services to accurately screen for tobacco use and easily accessible cessation programs are essential in the cancer care setting to further improve the survival time and quality of life of patients," Dr. Reid concluded.