beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

  • Contact BIDMC
  • Maps & Directions
  • Other Locations
  • Careers at BIDMC
  • Smaller Larger

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

Smaller Larger

Quitting Smoking after Cancer

Posted 6/16/2016

Posted in

  This is an eye-opening and important post about the importance of quitting smoking after a cancer diagnosis. Very honestly, until I read this new publication from ASCO's CancerNet, I assumed that worry about smoking at that point was akin to the shutting the proverbial barn door after the horse is in the next county. I have engaged in many conversations with ill people who felt that was too late to consider changing this habit and that tobacco was still a pleasure and a solace.

  Admittedly, I have never smoked (unless you count literally one cigarette when I was in college and then coughed so badly that I never wanted another),so I recognize that it is easy for me to suggest that smokers consider change even after a diagnosis has come. This publication gives us hard facts and indicates that mortality rates are higher and cancer treatments likely to be less successful for those who continue to smoke.

  Here is an excerpt and then a link. You can read the whole thing online or download it or order a paper copy.

Benefits of Quitting
Stopping tobacco use after a cancer
diagnosis offers many physical and mental
benefits, including:
• Live longer
• A better chance of successful treatment
• Fewer and less serious side effects from
cancer treatment, including surgery,
chemotherapy, and radiation therapy
• Faster recovery from treatment
• Less risk of secondary cancers
• Lower risk of infection
• Easier breathing
• More energy
• Better quality of life
Continuing to use tobacco after a cancer diagnosis presents these risks:
• Shorter life
• Lower chance of successful treatment
• More problems from surgery, such as slower wound healing, infection, scarring, and more
time in the hospital
• More side effects from chemotherapy, such as infection, fatigue, heart and lung
problems, and weight loss
• Additional side effects from radiation therapy, such as dry mouth, mouth sores, loss of
taste, and scarring after treatment, which can affect how you breathe, how your bowels
and urinary tract work, and how your skin looks
• Increased risk of the cancer coming back after treatment
• Increased risk of other serious illnesses, such as heart and lung diseases, or a
second cancer
• Poor quality of life


Add your comment