It’s generally accepted that most patients diagnosed with lung cancer are in the last months of their lives.1 However, a meta-analysis of 10 observational studies has determined that for patients with early stage lung cancers there may be a significant survival benefit if they stop smoking even after (rather than before) diagnosis.2 The five-year survival in these post-diagnosis “quitters” was in the order of 60-70% compared with about 30% in those who continued to smoke. Further, it was suggested that this benefit was due to a reduced likelihood of cancer progression rather than a reduction in cardio-respiratory deaths. In a linked editorial,1 Treasure and Treasure said that the sooner in their lives people stopped smoking the better, but the real gain would be in stopping young people from starting altogether.
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