Most people know that smoking is one of the leading causes of cancer. But there is much less awareness among people with cancer — and their doctors — that patients who continue to smoke after their cancer diagnosis, tend to have poor outcomes for treating the disease.
While healthcare organizations have made great strides in tobacco prevention and treatment over the past few decades, more work remains to establish and improve programs at cancer centers across the country to help people quit.
Here are several reasons why it’s crucial people with cancer quit smoking post-cancer diagnosis:
Cancer treatments have come a long way, with extensive research focusing on reducing side effects and improving outcomes. Nevertheless, there is one thing that can seriously undermine the effectiveness of treatment: smoking. It is a well-known fact that continuing to smoke increases the likelihood of complications during and after treatment, regardless of whether it’s surgery, radiation, or other forms of care. So, if you are a smoker, quitting now could make all the difference in your cancer journey.
According to surgical oncology research, taking measures to prevent or delay cancer from recurring is paramount. One such measure is quitting smoking, which has been found to significantly reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Furthermore, studies suggest that individuals who quit smoking are two to three times less likely to experience severe complications from treatment compared to those who continue smoking. It is worth considering this option as it may improve your chances of a successful treatment outcome.
It is important to note that among individuals who continue to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer, one out of every three will develop a second primary cancer. This type of cancer is distinct from the initial cancer that was diagnosed and is not a result of the primary cancer spreading to a different location, which is known as metastasis.
Smoking may lead to a range of chronic conditions and diseases, beyond cancer, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking,” smoking can have severe effects on almost all organs in the body.
When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, their overall health is typically taken into consideration, including their weight, diet, and tobacco use. It is important to approach this topic sensitively, as quitting smoking can be challenging and may require support and resources.
Considering the detrimental impact of smoking, it is recommended that individuals with cancer consider quitting smoking as an important aspect of their treatment plan.
Your immune system is a crucial player in fighting cancer. However, smoking puts a lot of stress on your body and distracts your immune system from its battle against cancer. Hence, it is essential to stop smoking as soon as possible to help your immune system function optimally and fight cancer effectively. Your immune system will start benefiting from the moment you quit smoking.
If you are undergoing cancer treatments, quitting smoking is one of the most effective steps you can take to help yourself. Smoking can make your side effects worse and slow down your recovery from surgeries and therapies. By quitting smoking, you can improve your chances of recovering faster and better.
Smoking can speed up the aging process of your skin, making you appear older and less healthy than you are. The harmful toxins in nicotine can cause your skin to droop, wrinkle, and become discolored. Given the many health issues that arise from smoking, it is essential to prevent the additional damage it can do to your skin.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.