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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Quitting cigarettes after lung cancer diagnosis reduces the severity of the disease

ScientificAmerican.com: Once people have been diagnosed with lung cancer they might think it pointless to stop smoking, but in fact it's not too late to benefit from quitting, a new study shows.

Researchers found that among more than 200 lung cancer patients at their center, those who quit smoking after the diagnosis became less severely impaired by the disease than those who kept up the habit.

Specifically, their "performance status" -- a measure of patients' ability to care for themselves and function in daily life -- was generally higher, according to findings published in the medical journal Chest.

Patients who gave up cigarettes did not live appreciably longer than those who continued smoking, the study found, but the difference in quality of life highlights the importance of quitting even after lung cancer develops, according to the study authors.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate a correlation between smoking cessation after diagnosis and performance status," write Dr. Sevin Baser and his colleagues.

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