Pulmonary Q&A by Dr. Schiffman

I heard that you can still get lung cancer even if you stop smoking, is this true?

Medical Author: George Schiffman, MD
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD


It is true that when you stop smoking cigarettes you still carry an increased risk of developing lung cancer. People who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who continue to smoke. Ten years after quitting smoking, the lung cancer death rate is about half of a continuing smoker's.

However, the risk of other cancers, stroke, and coronary heart disease is also reduced when someone quits smoking, and in some cases is reduced to that of a non-smoker.

Thank you for your question.

Last Editorial Review: 11/14/2006

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