55KRC: Current smokers OK for lung cancer resection surgery

UC expert details research showing similar outcomes between former, current smokers

A new study from University of Cincinnati researchers shows patients who currently smoke should still be offered lung cancer resection surgery.

Robert Van Haren, MD, assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Thoracic Surgery in UC’s College of Medicine, a UC Health thoracic surgeon and University of Cincinnati Cancer Center member, said past prevailing wisdom stated current smokers had worse outcomes than former smokers after surgery. However, Van Haren and his colleagues' research proved otherwise.

When a sample of 601 patients were matched based on similarities in lung function and other medical data, Van Haren said the risk of complications and/or death following surgery was the same between current and former smokers. Stopping smoking can still help improve the health of patients, but Van Haren said it should no longer be a barrier preventing a patient from receiving lung cancer surgery.

Listen to the 55KRC interview. (Note: Segment with Dr. Van Haren begins around 22:17 mark.)

Read more about the research.

Featured photo at top of Dr. Van Haren. Photo/Colleen Kelley/University of Cincinnati