We thought we would share this information since November is officially Lung Cancer Awareness Month and The Great American Smokeout Day is November 19:
Tobacco use is a known risk factor for many diseases, including several forms of cancer. A good bit is known about some of the specific compounds in tobacco and tobacco smoke that cause cancer, including tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). While an abundance of research has demonstrated a strong relationship with several types of cancer, the relationship to the development of breast cancer is currently considered 'suggestive' of a causal link, awaiting further evidence.
Other aspects of the tobacco / breast cancer relationship are more strongly supported. For example, it is known that women with breast cancer who smoke typically have a more aggressive form of this cancer. This presents additional challenges to effective treatment, and decreases the odds of a successful outcome.
Continued use of tobacco can compromise treatment for breast cancer. It increases the likelihood of post-surgical complications and infection, and adversely impacts wound healing. An increase in side effects from radiation treatment has been observed, including dry mouth, loss of taste, pneumonitis, soft tissue and bone necrosis and poor voice quality. Tobacco use may also worsen side effects of chemotherapy, such as immune suppression, weight loss, fatigue and increased likelihood of infection.
Quitting tobacco even at the point of diagnosis can have a substantial, positive effect on treatment outcome. On average across all cancers, quitting tobacco increases the likelihood of five-year survival from 33 percent to 67 percent. While earlier is always better, quitting at any time has benefits with respect to both health and quality of life.
Those who attempt to quit tobacco by using evidence-based treatments are far more likely to be successful and remain quit long-term. This involves an approach based on supportive counseling geared towards changing this habitual behavior, along with medications. Effective interventions can be delivered by trained healthcare providers, the tobacco quitline (800-QUITNOW), and the ACT Tobacco Treatment Centers located throughout Mississippi (www.act2quit.org, 601-815-1180).
Quitting tobacco should be a key component of a comprehensive treatment approach that improves the odds of a positive cancer treatment outcome. If you use any form of tobacco, take this important step today. Please visit the ACT Center website or call our main number for more information.