Early Smoking Cessation Lowers Cancer Risk
Reported March 5, 2003
ROCHESTER, Minn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Listen up, smokers. Researchers say the sooner you quit smoking, the better. A new study shows the risk for lung cancer decreases for former smokers as their duration of abstinence increases.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center analyzed data from more than 37,000 women in the Iowa Women's Health Study. Compared to women who never smoked, former smokers had an increased lung cancer risk up to 30 years after they quit smoking. However, researchers observed a beneficial effect of smoking cessation among both recent and distant former smokers.
Previous studies show former smokers had a 40-percent reduced risk for lung cancer after two to five years of smoking abstinence compared to current smokers.
The study confirms lung cancer risk declines less steeply with increasing age after smoking abstinence. However, authors of the study write, "Health care providers need to continue to be aggressive about diagnosing and treating tobacco use disorders at all ages, because the weight of all evidence indicates that smoking cessation decreases lung cancer risk."
Researchers also suggest health care professionals focus on smoking prevention and chemoprevention of lung cancer because former smokers have a prolonged elevated risk of lung cancer after they quit smoking.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 45 million smokers in the United States.
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SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2003;21:921-926