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Smoking Cessation and Cancer

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Smoking cessation and cancer- or I should be more clear an to the point by saying that the positive effect that stoping smoking has on a newly diagnosed cancer patients is dramatic.

I am a long-term cancer survivor who has struggled for decades with short, long-term and late stage side effects caused by both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. While I’ve always known that smoking cigarettes causes many different types of cancer, I did not know that smoking cigarettes negatively effected cancer therapies so much-

“Continued smoking after a cancer diagnosis is a significant challenge for successful treatment, including radiotherapy, reducing complete response rates and quality of life, and increasing the risk of radiation toxicities and complications, locoregional tumor recurrence, second cancers, and death.2-8″

When people smoke, what types of cancers are they more at risk for?

Smoking is a significant risk factor for various types of cancer. Here are some of the most common cancers associated with smoking:

  1. Lung Cancer: Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. It damages the cells lining the lungs and can lead to the development of tumors.
  2. Bladder Cancer: Tobacco smoke contains carcinogens that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted in urine, potentially causing damage to the cells lining the bladder.
  3. Mouth, Throat, and Esophageal Cancer: Smoking increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus due to direct exposure of these tissues to carcinogens in tobacco smoke.
  4. Pancreatic Cancer: Smoking is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Carcinogens from tobacco smoke can reach the pancreas through the bloodstream and contribute to the development of cancerous cells.
  5. Stomach Cancer: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer, possibly due to the carcinogens in tobacco smoke affecting the stomach lining.
  6. Liver Cancer: Smoking has been associated with an elevated risk of liver cancer, especially in individuals with underlying liver disease, such as hepatitis C.
  7. Colorectal Cancer: While the association between smoking and colorectal cancer is not as strong as with some other cancers, smoking has been identified as a risk factor for this type of cancer.
  8. Cervical Cancer: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of cervical cancer, particularly in women infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a major risk factor for cervical cancer.
  9. Kidney Cancer: Smoking is considered a risk factor for kidney cancer, as the carcinogens in tobacco smoke can potentially damage the kidneys over time.

man hand holding his nutritional supplemets, healthy lifestyle background.

Based on everything I have read and been told, quitting smoking is one of the, if not the most difficult habit to break- bar none. Therefore, like most all posts on PeopleBeatingCancer.org, I am offering a problem- smoking cessation and cancer- as well as evidence-based non-conventional therapies linked below.

Have you been diagnosed with cancer…and are a smoker? If you would like to learn more about both conventional and non-conventional cancer therapies email me at David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Tobacco Cessation Improves Radiotherapy: What Your Patient Needs to Know

“Smoking causes 1 in 5 cancers overall and nearly one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States.1 The association is particularly stark for lung cancers, more than 80% of which are caused by tobacco.1

Continued smoking after a cancer diagnosis is a significant challenge for successful treatment, including radiotherapy, reducing complete response rates and quality of life, and increasing the risk of radiation toxicities and complications, locoregional tumor recurrence, second cancers, and death.2-8

A systematic review of data from 71 studies found that smoking during adjuvant breast cancer radiotherapy is associated with skin reactions and worse cardiovascular, lung function, and breast reconstruction outcomes, and a higher risk of secondary carcinomas and death…4

Collectively, this complexly toxic chemical mixture renders cancer treatments — including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery — less effective and more toxic, while altering tumor biology in ways that can make malignancies more aggressive.2,5-8

Smoking constricts blood vessels, reducing oxygen perfusion; upregulates inflammatory and tumor signaling pathways associated with proliferation, angiogenesis, and tissue invasion; increases the risk of tumor cell radioresistance; impairs tissue healing processes; and worsens radiation toxicities such as mucositis, xerostomia, diarrhea, and weight loss.3,5,7…

Compared to patients who quit smoking at the time of a cancer diagnosis, smokers undergoing cancer treatment have poorer overall survival and more adverse events.9

“Several studies have demonstrated a clear correlation between smoking and the response to radiation or chemoradiation therapy in various cancers,” stated an oncologist in a 2022 review of how smoking cessation enhances therapeutic responses.9 “While the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been fully elucidated, the poor response to radiotherapy has been prevalent across several cancer types, indicating that it is a genuine correlation.”

In a meta-analysis of a subset of relatively high-quality studies (18 randomized controlled trials and 3 observational studies), the Dutch authors of the 2024 meta-analysis found significant benefits to patients of smoking cessation interventions based on behavioral interventions or combined-modality (behavioral support plus pharmacotherapy) interventions, but not for pharmacologic interventions alone.12

Role of Herbal Medication in Tobacco Cessation Treatment: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


Recent research shows that herbal medications are more effective and safer than placebo. In addition to helping the local economy, the usage of V. cinerea and St. John’s Wort, as the most commonly used herbal treatments, may make smoking cessation medication more accessible to those who are currently addicted.

It is easier to access as no prescription is required and it can be made locally in any nation without the need for imported ingredients, unlike current pharmaceuticals. If proven effective on all aforementioned limitations, herbal medicines can play an important role in tobacco cessation.

Hence, herbal therapy should be explored as an alternative to first-line smoking cessation drugs, particularly for individuals who cannot afford them. They can play a significant role in reducing the burden on the health system in the contemporary world.

In the past few years, the use of herbal drugs has increased substantially due to their easy availability and general perception among masses of their being safe and free from side effects…”

How to Quit Smoking Naturally — from an Eastern Perspective

“Some natural remedies may help you quit smoking. These include acupuncture, herbal remedies, yoga, and lifestyle changes.

Nearly 12 out of every 100 adultsTrusted Source in the United States smoked cigarettes in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number has declined by nearly 9.5% since 2005.

Several different types of treatments may help you quit, such as using prescription medications and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products.

However, some people may prefer trying natural approaches to smoking cessation and cancer…”

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