Quitting smoking could be a sign of lung cancer

1 March 2011

People who spontaneously quit smoking may be suffering from the early stages of lung cancer, it has been claimed.

According to new research published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, many long-term smokers manage to quit spontaneously shortly before they receive a lung cancer diagnosis.

Some researchers now suspect that quitting smoking with very little effort - in spite of previous failed attempts to quit the habit - may be an early symptom of the condition.

Dr Barbara Campling, a professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, US, said: "It is widely known that many lung cancer patients have stopped smoking before diagnosis."

She said that while this is often dismissed as a lifestyle choice following the discovery of lung cancer symptoms, her team's research shows that many people quit before the onset of symptoms.

However, she made it clear that heavy smokers should not use the research as a reason not to quit.

"We emphasise that all smokers must be strongly encouraged to stop," she concluded.

1 Campling, Barbara et al. "Spontaneous Smoking Cessation Before Lung Cancer Diagnosis". Journal of Thoracic Oncology. March 2011.

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