Researchers link secondhand smoke exposure to decreased lung cancer survival

In collaboration with the Press Association

Researchers link secondhand smoke exposure to decreased lung cancer survival

For the first time, researchers have shown that people exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke are less likely to be alive five years after a diagnosis of lung cancer, regardless of whether they smoke or not.

The findings, which point out particular risk to people exposed to second hand smoke in the workplace, support the recent decision to introduce smokefree legislation in England.

"We know that secondhand smoking increases the risk developing lung cancer," said lead author Dr Wei Zhou.

"But this is the first study to show that second-hand smoking also is associated with lung cancer survival."

Researchers, led by professor of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, interviewed 393 patients with early-stage, non-small cell lung cancer.

The patients were quizzed on their lifetime exposure to secondhand smoke at work, home and during their leisure time, for instance in bars and restaurants.

During the follow-up, five years after the initial interview, those with the lowest amount of exposure were most likely to be alive, while those with the highest exposures were less likely to have survived.

The researchers took into account a range of other factors, such as age, gender, how advanced the disease was at diagnosis, and - importantly - the amount that the patient smoked through their life.

 Find out more about lung cancer
Find out Cancer Research UK?s position on second-hand smoke