Smoking and non-small cell lung cancer: what is the connection?
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco smoke contains more than
You can reduce your risk of NSCLC if you quit smoking, but your risk will still be higher than if you had never smoked. If you have already been diagnosed with NSCLC in its early stages, quitting smoking can help delay the progression of your cancer.
Cigarettes and other tobacco products directly expose the lungs to at least 70 harmful chemicals. These chemicals can
Although our body can sometimes protect itself from this damage, it becomes more difficult to manage over time. Eventually, the damaged cells begin to grow rapidly and form a mass called a tumor or lesion.
Smoke from other people’s cigarettes, known as second-hand smoke, also causes non-small cell lung cancer. Breathing in second-hand smoke can be just as dangerous as smoking yourself.
According to the CDC, exposure to smoke causes
Research also shows that people with NSCLC exposed to second-hand smoke have poorer outcomes, including reduced survival rates.
Yes, quitting smoking will improve your outlook for non-small cell lung cancer. It’s never too late to quit. Even if you quit after smoking for a long time, there are still health benefits.
Even after a lung cancer diagnosis, research shows that quitting smoking can help people live longer. A
The outlook for NSCLC is better when the cancer is found before it has spread outside your lungs (localized). Almost
It is important to understand that this is only an estimate. Some people with lung cancer survive much longer than 5 years. Additionally, advances in treatments, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies, will continue to improve these rates.
If you smoke, recent research has shown that quitting smoking has been shown to cut your risk of lung cancer by half after 10 years compared to if you continued to smoke.
The best way to reduce your risk of NSCLC is to avoid smoking and secondhand smoking. Quitting isn’t easy, but there are resources available, such as:
- nicotine replacement therapies (patches, gummies, and inhalers) that deliver nicotine to your body in a safer form than smoking and help you reduce cravings
- prescription medications such as Chantix or Zyban
- smokers support groups
Through clinical trials, researchers are investigating new ways to help smokers quit.
To avoid second-hand smoke, don’t allow people to smoke in your home or car, and ask smokers not to smoke around you. If you can, try to dine in restaurants and live in accommodation with a smoke-free policy.
Smoking tobacco products like cigarettes is the main risk factor for non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer. Smoking can also cause cancer almost anywhere in the body, including the throat, esophagus, stomach, voice box (larynx), kidneys, liver and pancreas.
It’s never too late to quit smoking. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk of lung cancer. After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is about half that of someone who still smokes. Even if you still have NSCLC, your chances of surviving diagnosis may be higher if you quit smoking as soon as possible.
If you need help or advice to quit smoking, or are concerned about your risk of NSCLC, talk to your doctor.