Philippa Cheetham, MD: You’ve talked about the diagnosis of lung cancer, and we know that many patients who do get lung cancer, there’s an association with smoking. Were you a smoker?
Nance Neshanian: I did smoke, yes. In my younger days, I did, but I haven’t smoked for 50 years.
Philippa Cheetham, MD: And how many years were you a smoker for?
Nance Neshanian: Most of my adult life.
Philippa Cheetham, MD: And what made you stop smoking, out of interest?
Nance Neshanian: I had a sore throat and when I got over it, I didn’t need a cigarette and that was the easy way to quit.
Philippa Cheetham, MD: And how do you feel now, Nance?
Nance Neshanian: Great. I really do. I do everything I want to do.
Philippa Cheetham, MD: And we hear so much about other cancers that are very common—breast cancer, prostate cancer. With lung cancer, how common is it to make this diagnosis, and for patients like Nance who have had a history of smoking many years ago? Is it still relevant that she stopped smoking so long ago, but obviously there’s still a risk? Is there a risk for patients who have a history of smoking even if they’ve stopped?
Leora Horn, MD, MSc: So, there is a risk for patients who’ve quit smoking, there’s a risk for people who have never smoked with the environment that we live in, and there’s, of course, the risk for people who continue to smoke at this time. But lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, but it is the number one cancer killer in the United States with more people dying from lung cancer than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined.
Philippa Cheetham, MD: And for patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer who have a smoking history, at that point when they’re diagnosed, is it too late to stop smoking or is there still value in long-term heavy smokers with a smoking history stopping smoking?
Leora Horn, MD, MSc: It’s never too late to quit. And we do know that patients, even with stage 4 disease, that if they quit, they can tolerate treatment better. So, we do have a smoking cessation program and we talk to patients about quitting.