Jump to content

question on smoking/lung cancer


Recommended Posts

I have read somewhere, that when someone quits smoking, their chance of getting lung cancer increases slightly? Does anyone know if this is true? If so, why would that be?

I know if you smoke, it takes years to undo the damage done---but lately, I have been reading about so many cases of people that quit then the cancer showed up years after----of course that is understandable if the damage was done, but why would the chance of getting lung cancer go up for people who quit?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding is that it goes down some but you are still at greater risk than the general population. If you continue to smoke after diagnosis you are less likely to overcome it. So in other words if you ever smoked you are at higher risk for lung cancer but you have a better chance to survive if you have quit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Donna---I think on the main page of this board has "50% of people diagnosed are former smokers, the next group diagnosed are current smokers (I guess that would be 40%) and 10% were non-smokers---

not sure if that stat is because more and more people are quitting smoking and would have still gotten cancer if they continued to smoke?

I also read somewhere else that your cancer risk increases slightly when you quit smoking---

just interested to know why? I know down the line, your chances decrease, just curious about this stat

thanks for responding


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read an article recently which said the following:

AFTER 5 YEARS - your risk decreases to half that of a lifelong smoker.

AFTER 10 YEARS - your risk drop to the same rate as a life long NON smoker.

A co-worker stopped smoking in 1980 and was diagnosed in 2000 with NSCL stage 4. However, he lived in the heart of NYC (Manhattan) so there could have been other factors like inhaling dirty air and carbon monoxide every day. Passed away the following year.

Another co-worker and friend quit in 1982 (very heavy long term smoker) after the death of her cousin also a long term smoker. Every six months she went for an xray at a diagnostic clinic. In June 1985 it appeared on the xray. According to Tina, it was the size of a small lemon and malignant. It was removed along with a part of the lung. No chemo or radiation. She's now 73 and is fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Eileen, :)

Jeez!!, that one sounds like it came from the Philip Morris web site, :shock::shock: ; Certainly would'nt surprise me.

Honestly, I've never heard of that one, what Michael states is pretty much what I have read and I'm also a member of ACS, Smokefreeair.org, ASH, and the American Lung Association.

Bottom line is smoking is highly addictive and kills people. :x:x More people than most realize or want to realize! Yes, I'm an x- smoker with a bit of a chip. But, grateful to be alive!! :):)

Good luck and let us know if you find anything

God bless and stay well

Bobmc- NSCLC- stageIIB- left pneumonectomy- 5/2/01

" absolutely insist on enjoying life today!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Karen C. here. All I know is this - when Dave was diagnosed with SCLC in March, the oncologist looked him right in the eye and said "your kind of lung cancer is almost always caused by smoking, and if you smoke again, no matter what we do to help you, you will die." He hadn't smoked in a few weeks because he was already feeling bad, and he hasn't smoked since and I know he won't. He really wants to live.

Of course, that was said to someone already diagnosed. But I can't imagine quitting increasing your chances. I would think, perhaps, that the folks who quit are more aware and more apt to get tested and therefore more diagnoses are made.

It just sounds to me like a smoker seeking more reasons not to quit smoking.

Karen C.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for everyones replies---believe me, I know smoking is bad for you-and you should quit---for many reasons, --and it is certainly not a reason for a smoker to continue smoking nor did I mean to imply that---

Karen C---please look under the FACTS on the home page---I did not make up this stat as a reason to continue smoking----which is certainly a personal decision on my part---nor do I want anyone to continue smoking or be influenced by this stat

just very interested to know if this stat is true and why it would be true?

Thanks again for all your replies, I will do additional research on this


nsclc stage 1A

lobectomy 6/00

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I was told by my docs was if you are still smoking and you need Chemo, the chemo does not work as well as if you stoped smoking. To me smoking after you were diagnosed with cancer is like letting some who just molested your kids baby sit them. Or give someone the key to your house who just robbed you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More than 50% of people newly diagnosed with lung cancer are former smokers-people who have quit smoking. Current smokers make up the second largest group of diagnoses. Approximately 10% are never-smokers.

Although smoking cessation reduces the risk of lung cancer, former smokers always remain at significantly higher risk than those who have never smoked.

Source: Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support and Education

This was copied from the opening page. I believe it clearly says that even though many people quit smoking ( 50 % of newly diagnosed) they still get lung cancer. The good part of quiting is your lungs get a chance to so some healing , you have better lung capacity, your blood can carry more oxygen , necessary for living and healing, no further damage from cigarettes happens. While smoking your a lot of your hemoglobin carries carbon monoxide instead of oxygen. Carbon Monoxide is not good for you. Also think about it . If you have less lungs ( say you get to have surgery) you are exposed to less air to pick up less oxygen. Can you see if much of your hemoglobin is tied up with carbon monoxide what trouble you are getting yourself into. Is this more than you wanted to know? If so , Sorry Donna G

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sorry--- not to beat a dead horse and I totally agree with all written above, I just think that I am questioning a stat and why it would be true---not asking whether smoking is bad for you----I totally agree that it is----

I am certainly not questioning all the sicknesses that you can get from smoking and your increased chance of getting cancer---

I am just wondering why the stat for former smokers to get cancer is greater (50% of former smokers, 10% non-smokers---that leaves 40% of current smokers) than current smokers----does anyone know the answer to this-----? Seems weird to me and I question the validity of whether that is true or not--it would seem to me it would be the other way 50% current and 40% former---

does anyone know the answer to this specific question?

Thanks Eileen-

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I see exactly what you mean and don't know for sure why the statistics are weighted the way they are. I think Becky might have the right answer.

It is possible that 50% of former smokers are diagnosed because alot of people that have smoked for a long time end up quitting when they get older and are approaching the age that they may get diagnosed with lung cancer. Therefore, though they smoked most their life, they are technically a "former" smoker when diagnosed...hence the 50%. 40% of current smokers would cover a large percentage of younger people who are smoking and not yet thinking of quitting and not at the average age of being diagnosed. Therefore the older smokers diagnosed are a smaller percentile of the base pool of smokers.

Does that make sense to anyone but me?? It would be interesting to see if the odds DO go up after quitting and why but other than the above Eileen...I have no clue!! Can't tell by me...I smoked at the Cancer Treatment Center the night before my surgery so no quitting here before I was diagnosed!!! I'm a true addict with everything!!

And by the way Ry, the answer is NO...:wink::D:D


47 years old

Stage 1a-nsclc

Surgery June 16, 2003 - upper & mid lobe removed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my responsibilities at work is to do statistical analysis (Yawn...OK, I am a geek too)

Trust me, any number can be twisted by stats to make things look any way you want to. Tho I don't think this is the case on this board or with any of the data collected by any of the fine LC organizations referenced in this group.

I think knowledge mixed with a little bit of logic applies here. More folks are quitting, and they quit around middle age. LC is *usually* DX in the later stages of middle age, so it may appear that the rate goes up for recent quitters. That said, it is a natural "assumption" that quitting may increase the risk, but once the factors are put together, this meerly turns out to be co-incidence. The cancer isn't caused by the quitting, it is caused by the smoking and the timing is the variable.

Boring, huh?

EILEEN ~ I am under the impression you STILL smoke? I am curious, if that is the case, how you can do that physically after a lobectomy? I am not talking the social, moral or emotional factor..just..well, wow..doesn't it hurt????

It hurt BEFORE I had a lobectomy, I can't imagine burning the scar tissue and whats left with smoke without cringing in pain!

PS, I breath better now, in general, with a chunk of lung missing than when I had 2 whole lungs and was smoking a pack+ a day. I kick myself imagining what I would have breathed like without smoking, pre lobectomy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.