Research suggests it is never too late to stop smoking 

29/01/2020 00:00 
It is never too late to stop smoking, according to the authors of a study involving UCLH published in the journal Nature last week.

Researchers from UCLH, UCL and Wellcome Sanger Institute funded by Cancer Research UK found that quitting smoking could do more than just stop further damage to the lungs – it could also allow new, healthy cells to actively replenish the lining of our airways which could protect against cancer.

“Our study has an important public health message and shows that it really is worth quitting smoking to reduce the risk of lung cancer,” said UCLH’s Professor Sam Janes, joint senior author of the study.

Professor Janes added: “Stopping smoking at any age does not just slow the accumulation of further damage, but could reawaken cells unharmed by past lifestyle choices. Further research into this process could help to understand how these cells protect against cancer, and could potentially lead to new avenues of research into anti-cancer therapeutics.”

Dr Peter Campbell, joint senior author from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said: “What is so exciting about our study is that it shows that it’s never too late to quit – some of the people in our study had smoked more than 15,000 packs of cigarettes over their life, but within a few years of quitting many of the cells lining their airways showed no evidence of damage from tobacco.”

The study comes ahead of World Cancer Day tomorrow. UCLH will mark the occasion at the Cancer Centre from 10am-2pm and all staff and invited.

At the event the UCH Cancer Fund and Haematology Cancer Care – the key UCLH Charity funds supporting cancer services at UCLH – will showcase the difference the funds have made to patient care and staff experience.

World Cancer Day takes place on 4 February each year, and is led by the Union for International Cancer Control, which has members from across 162 countries.

It aims to be the one single initiative under which the entire world can unite against cancer.

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