Survival odds improve for cancer patients who stub out

New Australian research shows quitting smoking at the time of diagnosis could increase the long term survival of cancer patients.

A new study released by Cancer Council, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology*, shows a large number of Australians diagnosed with cancer continue to smoke, potentially reducing their overall long term survival.

The study found that if a smoker continued to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer, they had a 37 per cent chance of being alive eight years later.

If the smoker quit smoking at diagnosis, their chance of survival increased to 43 per cent – a six per cent gain.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the study reinforced the importance of helping the Queensland community quit smoking.

“This study shows the potential for significant survival gains for any person, with any cancer type who gives up smoking,” Ms Clift said.

“We know the majority of smokers want to quit, and we are working hard to ensure they have the necessary information, resources and support to do so.

“We want all Queensland cancer patients to be well supported to quit smoking, and to understand the health benefits of doing so when diagnosed.

“If a cancer patient continues to smoke after diagnosis, they could reduce their overall survival and experience complications during treatment.”

Currently, around 500,000 people smoke each day in Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift initiatives like smoke free spaces would prevent more Queenslanders from taking up the habit in the first place.

“Protecting our next generation from the harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoke is crucial,” Ms Clift said.

“10 Queenslanders die every day from smoking – it’s a tragic figure that dwarfs other causes of preventable and premature deaths.

“We need strong action to continue for the health of all Queenslanders. The next step towards a smoke free Queensland requires no smoking at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and in pedestrian malls.”

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848), or join the QUEST to quit at

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171