Smoking cessation reduces overall mortality, yet oncologists do not often provide smoking cessation support at the time of a cancer diagnosis. One possible reason for this is that there is very little evidence regarding the benefits of smoking cessation on cancer survival.
To illustrate the importance of smoking cessation at the time of diagnosis for cancer survival by using a simple modelling technique
We calculated 8-year absolute survival of people who quit smoking around the time of a cancer diagnosis (“recent quitters”), ex-smokers, continuing and never smokers using recently published mortality rates and applying these to cancer survival statistics from Australia and the USA.
Eight year absolute survival, across all cancer types, was 37% for smokers, 43% for recent quitters and 49% for never-smokers in Australia, and in the USA was 43%, 49% and 54% for smokers, recent quitters and never-smokers, respectively
Conclusions: The benefits of quitting smoking after a cancer diagnosis compared to continued smoking are potentially very large. While large studies are needed to provide robust estimates of the effect of smoking cessation on cancer survival, the existing literature and our estimates suggest it is prudent to implement smoking cessation in treatment guidelines as an essential part of cancer care.