3 Reasons to Quit Smoking After Cancer Diagnosis
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, quitting tobacco use is one of the best goals a person can have to improve the chanes of successful cance treatment. Many beieve that smoking caused their cancer and feel like they have brought this on themselvs. Others believe it is too late to quit, that the damage has already been done. People who use tobacco should not blame themselves for their cancer diagnosis or feel that nothing can be done to help.
You might think about quitting smoking and wonder, "What's the point?" But even after a cancer diagnosis, quitting can make a big difference in your life - and improve the effectiveness of your treatment.
Here are three reasons to quit:
- Smoking makes treatment harder
Cancer treatment is no walk in the park - chemotherapy and radiation can cause side effects, including fatigue, nausea, hair loss, skin problems and pain.
Research has shown that smoking makes these side effect worse. Even six months after treatment, smokers continued to report more side effect than non-smokers. But patients who qui smoking before starting treatment reported levels of side effects similar to non-smokers.
- Smoking makes treatment less effective
Smoking effects your circulation, your cardiovascular health, your immune system, and even your body's ability to heal from qounds. When you're undergoing cancer treatment, especially if it inbolved surgery, smoking makes it even harder for your body to recover and increases your risk of complications.
There is also evidence that smoking changes the way your body processes chemotherapy drugs, making them less effective.
- Smoking increases your risk of cancer recurrence
Even if your treatment is successful, continuing to smoke increases the chances that your cancer will return. This may seem obvious when it comes to lung cancer, but smoking causes other types of cancer - including cancers of the larynx, throat, mouth, kidney, bladder, and liver.
So what can you do?
If at first you don't success - keep trying
Maybe you've tried and failed to quit smoking in the past. Truth is, most people struggle to quit, especially the first time. Only 4 to 7 percent of people who try to quit smoking without assistance succeed on the first try.
The good news is that you don't have to do it alone. There's a wide range of options to help you quit, including:
- Smoking cessation classes
- Nicotine replacement products
Maybe now is the best time to give one of them a try.
Talk openly to your doctor
The first step in quitting smoking is to speak openly and honestly with your healthcare provider. Many people feel ashamed of the fact that they smoke and are reluctant to tell their doctor. Being open with your treatment team can help you get the resources to quit for good, drastically improving your quality of life and the chances that your treatment will be successful.
For more information, visit www.cancer.net