While a significant number of cancer patients continue to use tobacco products, they may not know of the benefits of quitting, with regard to their cancer treatment. The influence of smoking on cancer treatment is not to be taken lightly. The following was noted in the 2014 US Surgeon General's report on smoking:
"Risk of dying could be lowered by 30-40% by quitting smoking at the time of diagnosis. For some cancer diagnoses, the benefit of smoking cessation may be equal to, or even exceed, the value of state-of-the-art cancer therapies..." (The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General (2014), p. 291).
There is substantial evidence showing that smoking around time of diagnosis is associated with poor outcomes in cancer patients. Are you using tobacco?
- Chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment may not be as effective
- Your hospital stay may be longer
- If you have surgery, you are at higher risk of complications, and you may take more time to heal
- Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or stop-smoking medication helps with withdrawal symptoms and increases your chance of success
Quitting smoking can:
- Improve outcomes of surgery, radiation and systemic therapy
- Reduce risk of reoccurrence and second primary cancers
- Provide general health benefits such as improved oxygen transport and circulation, and heightened immune response
For support and services, call 1-877-455-2233 and ask to speak to a counsellor from QuitNow. At your local pharmacy, you can register for the BC Smoking Cessation Program, where you can access free NRT, or get information on subsidized medication.