48 percent of patients in study quit before diagnosis, most before onset of symptoms

Many longtime smokers quit spontaneously with little effort shortly before their lung cancer is diagnosed, leading some researchers to speculate that sudden cessation may be a symptom of lung cancer.

Most patients who quit did so before noticing any symptoms of cancer, according to the study, which was published in the March issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO), the official monthly journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

"It is widely known that many lung cancer patients have stopped smoking before diagnosis," said Dr. Barbara Campling, professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "This observation is often dismissed, by saying that these patients must have quit because of symptoms of their cancer. However, we found that the majority of lung cancer patients who stopped smoking before diagnosis quit before the onset of symptoms. Furthermore, they often quit with no difficulty, despite multiple previous unsuccessful quit attempts. This has led us to speculate that, in some cases, spontaneous smoking cessation may be an early symptom of lung cancer."

Researchers interviewed 115 lung cancer patients from the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, all of whom had been smokers. Fifty-five (48%) had quit smoking before diagnosis, and only six of those (11%) had experienced symptoms of lung cancer by the time they quit. Patients with lung cancer who quit were as dependent on nicotine, when their smoking was at its highest point, as those who continued to smoke. Yet 31% reported quitting with no difficulty.

For comparison, researchers also interviewed patients with prostate cancer and those who had suffered a heart attack. They found that the median interval between quitting smoking and lung cancer diagnosis was 2.7 years. This compared with 24.3 years for prostate cancer and 10 years for a heart attack.

Researchers speculated that spontaneous smoking cessation may be a presenting symptom of lung cancer, possibly caused by tumor secretion of a substance interfering with nicotine addiction.

The results should not encourage smokers to continue smoking, Campling said.

"There is a danger that this study could be misinterpreted as suggesting that heavy smokers should continue smoking," Campling said. "We emphasize that all smokers must be strongly encouraged to stop."

Researchers interviewed 115 lung cancer patients

This whole story is nothing more than bullshit.

It's also copied word for word from the referenced site.

This whole story is nothing more than bullshit.

A proper rebuttal consists or more than the above statement. You could claim, for example, that the sample size is too small to be statistically significant, but to just cry bullshit is about as valid as shouting "is not".

The story is also copied word for word from the referenced site which may be a violation of the DaniWeb rules

  • Do ensure you own the intellectual property rights to everything that you post
  • Do not post copyright-infringing material

I claimed it is bullshit because the sample size is just too small to be of any significance, which is why I quoted that line. Don't care if it was copied word-for-word, it's still bullshit. IMO it's not in violation of DaniWeb rules since he provided a link to the original text. This would fall under the "fair use" laws in the USAl.

Ancient Dragon,
+1 to your last post.
But seems you failed to notice:
the main and only keyword in the article is spontaneously.

doesn't matter if it was spontaneous or not -- the sample size is still just too low to be of much value except to say that more and larger studies are needed to verify the results. And the results do have to be verified and duplicated or they are pretty useless. I quit smoking 12 years ago after smoking since I was a teen-ager. Tried several times to stop, and finally quit cold turkey. I have yet to be diagnosed with any form of cancer, although I think my failing eyesight was probably caused by smoking as well as stairing at computer screens for 20+ years.

I agree the study is garbage. The sample size is too low. It is well known that if the interviewer knows the premise of the study they can subconsciously bias the results. And the comparison 'control' group is inadequate since smoking increases the chance of lung cancer you expect those patients to be have been smoking longer (thus if they have quit to have quit more recently) than patients with other cancers/diseases.

Most (all?) such "studies" are conducted for only a single purpose: to generate an excuse for someone, somewhere, to either legislate or sell something.
The general public doesn't understand sample size, the press only prints the executive summary which doesn't mention it, and politicians cherry pick those lines that advance their talking points (in this case that'd be "smoking is bad, we need to tax it more").

Of course by adding the standard line at the end that "more study is needed" the "researcher" both ensures he'll get more money to continue his lifestyle, and a strong case for deferring any complaints about the correctness of his results to the lack of that additional research.

Most (all?) such "studies" are conducted for only a single purpose: to generate an excuse for someone, somewhere, to either legislate or sell something.

Not really, certainly the studies conducted by 'think tanks' or by a company/industry body are for that purpose but most research by publicly funded academics at research institutes or universities conduct their research for some combination of the following reasons:
1) public/societal good (eg. improving health, improving food production/quality, making human systems more sustainable/efficient, etc..)
2) general interest in understanding reality (ie: knowledge for its own sake)
3) moving science forward (eg. testing a prediction made by a new scientific theory)
4) pure enjoyment of discovery/puzzle-solving

The most dangerous component of tobacco smoke is carbonic dust (the same case with street exhausts by cars).
I "earned" my lung TB (tuberculesis) because I worked with diamonds, not because I'm a heavy smoker.
For almost a decade I was forced to breath diamond dust (abt 30-40%% of raw diamond goes into dust (into thin air), after cutting).

don't you guys wear masks when working with those diamonds?

Interesting about the diamonds, I would hope they are required to supply masks for the workers now the danger is known. Do you know why it makes you sensitive to TB vs other lung aliments? because TB is bacterial and is usually more down to weakened immune systems (eg. AIDS) than lung irritation.

I have no clue why, I have not had a biology class since about 1960. But you might be interested in this article, which suggests diamond mines are covered in asbestos dust

note that the article doesn't even attempt to hide its hostility towards deBeers, I'd not trust it to be in any way objective about the seriousness of the situation.

As to asbestos in mines, hardly surprising. Even if there's no asbestos associated with the presence of kimberlite (afaik there is no such association, I've read some about diamong mining that would have I think stated such a link but I'm no geophysicist or geologist) we're talking about Africa here and it's pretty much guaranteed that there's asbestos, PCBs, you name it for nastiness in the machines, buildings, and insulation material used.
The same is true in Africa outside the diamond industry, so if deBeers claims there's no health issues that claim must be taken relative to the conditions the miners would encounter in other jobs they could hold, not as an absolute. states asbestos was mined in southern Africa but mentions no link between the mineral and diamond deposits (and asbestos mines exist(ed) all over the world, including in areas where diamonds/kimberlite can not be mined).

Sorry, guys,
my poor English does not allow me to depict the whole situation.
PS: Of course, I am not a diamond cutter. There I worked as a hired full-time programmer/sysadmin.
Simply my work place was adjacent (behind a glass wall) to the tool shop.
My CRT monitors gathered huge layers of graphite dust on them.

@Ancient Dragon, an interesting article (I read abt 1/4 of it), but it's not my case.

graphite is not asbestos, a tool shop is not a mine... If you got a lot of graphite (and I guess other) materials in your office from the tool shop next door that means just what I noted, there is poor filtration of the air causing pollution to spread.
By your own (and ADs) logic, offices are a major source of graphite dust because that's where the dust was found.
Of course in reality the graphite was most likely put into the air in the toolshop where it is often used as a lubricant for lathes and other machines.

Some very interesting articles posted. I took a little geology in uni and we talked about diamond mines in one class but didn't get into how they are actually extracted & processed. The asbestos-diamonds relationship based on the above articles is strictly chrysotile asbestos (least harmful kind) because unlike the other types of asbestos chrysotile is just a crystal-type of serpentine - probably has some specific impurities/formation conditions to get that crystal type - and some kinds of kimberlite are rich in serpentine so the connection is certainly weak. Also diamond mines usually have to travel through large amounts of surrounding material not just the kimberlite because kimberlite deposits are usually very long and narrow, the surrounding material could be anything at all. I would describe it as the plausible but unlikely.

But asbestos or not, most mineral dusts are harmful at high concentrations, so they are something all workers should be aware of.

PS the TB-dust connection appears to be related to the immune system trying to clear the dust from the lungs.