Just because you quit smoking years ago does not mean that you're going to get out of hand when it comes to developing lung cancer. These are the "bad" news. The good news is that your lung cancer risk drops significantly within five years of quitting.
These are the key findings of a new analysis of the groundbreaking Framingham Heart Study by researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which was published on May 16 by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute .
"When you smoke" Now is a great time to stop, "said lead author Hilary Tindle, MD, MPH and William Anderson Spickard Jr., MD Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Center for tobacco, addiction and lifestyle
"The fact that the risk of lung cancer decreases relatively quickly after smoking, compared to continued smoking, gives new motivation," she said.
Tindle and her colleagues examined residents' health records Framingham, Massachusetts has been followed by the Framingham Heart Study for decades.
The study, supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, helped establish high blood pressure and high cholesterol as key factors in cardiovascular disease However, cancer has also been reported.
The current study looked at 8,907 participants, 25-34 Were observed for years. During this time, 284 lung cancers were diagnosed, of which nearly 93 percent were among heavy smokers who had smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for at least 21
. Five years after cessation, there was a risk of developing lung cancer in former heavy smokers, which fell 39 percent compared to current smokers, and continued to decline over time. But even 25 years after quitting, her lung cancer risk was more than three times higher than people who never smoked.
The Framingham study is unique in that it interviewed every two to four years after smoking, explaining increases or reducing smoking over time.
Current federal guidelines requiring coverage for lung cancer screening for current and former smokers rule out those who have not smoked for 15 years or more. However, four out of ten cancers in heavy smokers in the current study occurred more than 15 years after they left.
Another study is warranted to determine if extending the cut-off point for on-call screening would be cost-effective and would save lives, researchers concluded.
"While the importance of smoking cessation can not be overstated, former heavy smokers must recognize that the risk of lung cancer remains elevated for decades after they smoke their last cigarette, underscoring the importance of lung cancer screening," said senior author Matthew Freiberg, MD, MSc, Professor of Medicine.
Quit smoking, but do not cut back, with better lung health