There's Never Been a Better Time to Quit Smoking

Providence Health Team

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth saying again. Tobacco use causes cancer. However, some may feel that once they have received a diagnosis of cancer they have already “missed the boat” when it comes to quitting. These people couldn’t be more wrong!

A diagnosis of cancer may be the perfect time to commit to quitting smoking

A study at the London Regional Cancer Center, Ontario, Canada followed 215 patients receiving chemotherapy for small-cell lung cancer. Of the 215 patients, 186 provided their smoking status. 79 patients continued to smoke during chemotherapy and 107 quit smoking during chemotherapy. The study followed the patients for a period of ten years after chemotherapy and proved what most people already suspected … continuing to smoke decreases your chances of survival. On average, those who quit smoking lived longer.

Taking this study out of the context of lung cancer I think it’s applicable to all cancer diagnoses.

According to the National Cancer Institute, of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, 250 are known to be harmful including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. Of these 250 chemicals more than 50 have been found to cause cancer. Spit tobacco isn’t any better, containing more than 28 cancer-causing agents.

As a patient undergoing treatment for cancer it’s also important to understand the risks of secondhand smoke … approximately 3,000 lunch cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

There’s no way around it. Tobacco is dangerous. Regardless of who you are, I recommend quitting. If you or someone you know is living with a diagnosis of cancer, quit now. It’s never to late to stop.

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