Cancer Q&A

I have already been diagnosed with cancer. Should I bother to quit smoking now?

It is important to quit smoking if you are diagnosed with cancer, because continued smoking can cause further complications throughout treatment and even after treatment.

According to the National Cancer Institute, continuing to smoke after a cancer diagnosis may reduce the effectiveness of the cancer treatment as well as increase your chances of acquiring a second primary cancer.

Studies also found that after surgery, it can take longer to heal and you may be at an increased risk for infection. One study found decreased response, decreased survival rates and difficulty with side effects in head and neck cancer patients when they continued to smoke.

For laryngeal patients, if they continue to smoke, they were less likely to regain satisfactory voice quality.

Whether the primary cancer is smoking-related or not, a cancer patient who continues to smoke risks cancer recurrence or developing a second primary cancer. Even if a person’s cancer is cured, if that person continues to smoke, the risk of developing a second primary cancer can extend for 20 years.

The Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and Baton Rouge General have tobacco cessation classes starting this week for anyone in the community. Mary Bird Perkins also offers one-on-one counseling specifically for cancer patients.

For more information about their programs, call (225) 215-1274 for Mary Bird Perkins or (225) 387-7848 for Baton Rouge General.

For more information contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org , or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.

รค On the Internet:

National Cancer Institute: Smoking Cessation

cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/smokingcessation/Patient

Quitting Smoking Factsheet – NCI:

cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/cancer