(HealthDay News) — A new study has identified significant differences between non-small-cell lung cancer patients who smoke and those who don’t. The findings were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the European Respiratory Society, held from Sept. 26 to 30 in Amsterdam.
Investigators compared 1,411 Portuguese patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and found that nonsmokers were more likely than smokers to be women and to have adenocarcinoma. The nonsmokers were also less likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, previous cancer of the larynx, or weight loss.
In addition, nonsmokers lived about twice as long after diagnosis, an average of 51 months compared to 25 months for smokers. Many of the nonsmokers were diagnosed at an advanced stage of disease, including 59 percent at stage IV.
“We believe that the differences we found between the two groups will help improve diagnosis, and prompt investigators to try to find out why these differences occur,” study author Catia Saraiva, M.D., of the Portuguese Institute of Oncology in Lisbon, said in a European Lung Foundation news release. “In the nonsmoking group, we found professional exposure to carcinogens in 9 percent, a family history of lung cancer in 5 percent, and a previous cancer diagnosis in 6 percent. Additionally, 18 percent had high blood pressure.”