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Five reasons to quit smoking after a cancer diagnosis

National Non-Smoking Week is January 20-26. Understand why quitting smoking is important after a cancer diagnosis and get resources to help you kick the habit of smoking for good.
Five reasons to quit smoking after a cancer diagnosis (Infographic by BC Cancer)
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After a cancer diagnosis, many often wonder if it's too late to quit smoking. As a long-term smoker, you may ask "why bother?" but those who quit smoking after diagnosis have shown to have better cancer treatment, fewer side effects and overall improvement in health.

The percentage of cancer patients that smoke varies from 13 per cent to 25 per cent throughout the province. Quitting smoking at the time of cancer diagnosis could lower the risk of death by up to 40 per cent. Making the decision to quit smoking is the best treatment option and can reap huge benefits to your physical and mental health when undergoing treatment. 

"Stopping smoking after a diagnosis of cancer is one of the most important things a patient can do," says Dr. Renelle Myers, thoracic interventional respirologist at BC Cancer. "Patients will respond to treatment better and have fewer complications related to treatment. It reduces recurrence of the cancer and prevention of a second cancer. Patients who stop smoking live longer."

Thinking about quitting smoking but on the fence about it? Here are five reasons to quit: 

  1. Better chance of successful treatment.
  2. Quitting smoking makes your cancer treatment more effective when undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. 
  3. Fewer side effects.
  4. You will have a lower chance of developing side effects after your cancer treatment, such as infection, fatigue, and nausea.
  5. Faster recovery.
  6. Patients who quit smoking usually recover faster from treatment and spend less time in the hospital. By quitting, you reduce the risk of complications and allow your body to heal quicker. 
  7. Lower risk of secondary cancers.
  8. Continuing to smoke increases the likelihood of developing new cancers in the future. If you decide to continue to smoke, there is a higher chance that your cancer will return. 
  9. Improvement in quality of life. 
  10. Live longer and better by making it a goal to quit smoking.  Quitting smoking is linked to better quality of life and gives you more energy to pursue your daily activities. 
Here are resources to help to you quit smoking:  

  1. BC Smoking Cessation Program
  2. The BC Smoking Cessation Program helps people stop smoking or using other tobacco products by assisting them with the cost of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products or smoking cessation prescription drugs. The program is open to eligible B.C. residents who wish to stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
  3. QuitNow 
  4. QuitNow offers phone, text and internet-based quit smoking services that are available free-of-charge to all B.C. residents. Access QuitNow by phone at 1-877-455-2233. The service is a confidential, free helpline available 24/7. You can also text QUITNOW to 654321 for text support or text CHAT to 654321for live text chat with a quit coach.
  5. Nicotine replacement therapies
  6. Nicotine replacement therapies, including the patch, inhaler, gum and lozenges, are all free of charge with your care card in B.C. You can get these nicotine replacements from your local pharmacist.
For more smoke-free resources, visit BC Cancer’s smoking and tobacco website section.
BC Cancer; Cancer prevention
SOURCE: Five reasons to quit smoking after a cancer diagnosis ( )
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