The Smoking Habit That Triples the Danger for Cancer Patients

Every cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. The fight against cancer can be successful, but one particular habit can make it significantly more challenging: cigarette smoking. This devastating habit not only raises the risk of cancer, but it can also directly affect your chances of survival when battling the disease.

In a 20-year study conducted at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California in Fremont, researchers discovered that men who continued to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer had a 60 percent increase in their chances of dying. The risk of death skyrocketed for men who had bladder, lung, and colon cancer. Within these groups, bladder cancer patients tripled their risk of death, while lung and colon cancer patients more than doubled their chances of death if they kept smoking.

Despite these alarming statistics, many cancer patients and healthcare professionals may assume that quitting smoking after a cancer diagnosis is pointless. After all, damage from smoking has already been done, right? The researchers in Fremont, however, present a different case. Their findings reveal the striking impact that post-diagnosis smoking can have on survival rates and overall cancer prognosis.

Smoking isn’t the only culprit, but it’s a major one

It’s important to note that smoking isn’t the only factor contributing to cancer and subsequent death. Genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices all play a role in the development and progression of cancer. However, smoking has a significant impact, so it’s vital to understand the reasons behind its detriment and how kicking the habit might substantially improve your life.

How smoking affects cancer treatments

Smoking, and the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes, can significantly interfere with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and other medications. These harmful substances can:

  1. Make treatments less effective: Smoking can hinder your body’s ability to respond to treatment, potentially reducing success rates and making it difficult for doctors to control the cancer.

  2. Increase side effects: Patients who smoke during treatment often experience more severe side effects than those who don’t. This may lead to additional health issues and discomfort.

  3. Reduce the success of surgery: Smoking interferes with the body’s healing abilities, making it riskier for patients to recover from surgery. This may lead to longer hospital stays, complications, and even infection.

The impact of quitting

Just as continued smoking after a cancer diagnosis can increase your risk of death, quitting can significantly improve your outlook. According to the American Cancer Society, quitting smoking reduces the risk of complications and infections during and after surgery, improves healing ability, and increases overall survival following cancer treatment.

The power of quitting: evidence that quitting smoking can save your life

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers found compelling evidence that quitting smoking improved survival rates among cancer patients. Patients who quit smoking at the time of their diagnosis were more likely to experience the following benefits:

  1. Improved response to cancer treatment: With the toxins from cigarettes no longer interfering, the body is better equipped to respond to treatment and aim for a successful outcome.

  2. Reduced risk of developing secondary cancers: Many cancer patients face the risk of developing secondary cancers as a result of their initial diagnosis. By quitting smoking, patients can significantly reduce that risk.

  3. Increased survival rates: Quitting smoking significantly improves overall survival rates for cancer patients and can increase the chance of a complete recovery.

The bottom line

While a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, quitting smoking can be one of the most important steps in improving your prognosis and increasing your chances of survival. It’s never too late to quit, and there are numerous resources available to help you stop smoking for good.

Consult your healthcare provider to find the best smoking cessation method for you, and increase your likelihood of success by surrounding yourself with a support system and using behavioral strategies. With these tools in hand, you’ll be better equipped to fight cancer and improve your overall quality of life.