Why Quit Smoking After Diagnosis?

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 8, 2013

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Question

If I already have lung cancer, why should I stop smoking now?

Anil Vachani, MD, Pulmonologist at Penn Medicine adds:

Even if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, you should still try and quit smoking. There is evidence to suggest that patients who continue to smoke may respond less well to their treatment and thus have worse outcomes clinical with their lung cancer. Patients may also have more side effects from treatment if they continue to smoke. Quitting smoking also reduces your chance of developing future lung cancer, head and neck cancer, or other cancers, such as esophageal, bladder, etc, as well as several other conditions like heart disease. We hope that you will be cured from this lung cancer, but if continued smoking results in you getting a second cancer in the lungs or nearby structures, it may be very difficult safely treat you with more surgery or radiation therapy, and you, unfortunately, may not have another curative option for treatment in the future.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Lung Cancer transcript.


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Nov 29, 2014 - Whether genetic test results indicate relatives of lung cancer patients are at high or low risk for the disease, smokers' subsequent uptake of smoking cessation services is high, according to a study published online June 30 in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.



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