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Does lung cancer risk stay high after years of smoking even after quiting?

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Practicing since : 2002
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do risks for lung cancer still stay high after years of smoking half a pack per day for 20 years....if you quit do always still have to worry about lung cancer even if you quit or can your lungs reheal themselves. very worried.............
Posted Thu, 31 May 2012 in Lung Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 3 hours later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some information regarding your concern.

First of all I would like to congratulate you on quitting smoking. This is a huge achievement and will benefit you over the rest of your life.

I also completely understand your concern regarding the risk of lung cancer given your history of smoking in the past. We now know from a lot of good research that quitting smoking as you have done will overtime start to decrease your risk of lung cancer. It will not get down completely to the level of someone who has not smoked in the past but your risk of lung cancer will decrease as the years go on.

At this point it is important for you to focus on a good lifestyle and lifestyle modifications which will continue to promote good health. This includes an active lifestyle with exercise three or four days per week in addition to a good well-balanced diet with a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits in addition to clean me if you are not a vegetarian.

Again I think it is excellent that you have quit smoking at this point and now you can look forward to a slowly decreasing risk of lung cancer. Overall long cancer is even rare among smokers. We do know that smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer then non-smokers and I want you to focus on the positive aspects of your health at this point. Otherwise you will develop significant anxiety which really is not warranted. I am convinced that you do not have lung cancer at this point and you most likely will never develop lung cancer in the future.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you found my response to be helpful and informative. If you have additional concerns I would be happy to discuss those as well.


Dr. Robert
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